Courtesy: Baltimore Brigade Media Relations
Baltimore defense sets tone in largest margin of victory in franchise history
BALTIMORE, MD. – The Baltimore Brigade (6-4) defeated the Columbus Destroyers (1-9), Friday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD, 50-12. This win is Baltimore’s largest margin of victory in franchise history. Baltimore’s defensive pressure caused the Destroyers to commit four interceptions. The Brigade’s defensive unit also collected four sacks and three fumbles. Their efforts kept Columbus scoreless after the second quarter, allowing Baltimore to score 36 unanswered points. The Brigade, returning to Baltimore after four consecutive road games, improved to 4-1 at home with the win.
Defensive back Josh Victorian, named the Most Valuable Player of the Game, tallied three solo tackles, two interceptions, one of which resulted in a touchdown, and three pass breakups. Defensive back Joe Powell led the team with seven tackles (six solo), one interception, one forced fumble, two pass breakups, and one kickoff return touchdown. Powell was named Defensive Player of the Game for his performance. Baltimore wide receiver Joe Hills was named Offensive Player of the Game and caught five receptions for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Baltimore defensive backs Powell, Victorian, and Nias Martian all scored a touchdown tonight. Brigade linebacker Dexter Jackson and defensive linemen Darryl Cato-Bishop, Royce LaFrance, and Justin Lawrence all picked up one sack. Brigade Quarterback Shane Boyd finished with 14 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Shane Morris made his Brigade quarterback debut in the fourth quarter and connected with Hills on his first pass for Morris’ first passing touchdown of his AFL career.
“We needed that win,” Baltimore Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said. “The four game road trip was a little taxing, finished 2-2. We were not overly excited about that, especially after last week’s game. We came in here focused today and defense and special teams played lights out and they are the main reason why we won. ”
The Brigade defense started the first half by attacking the Destroyers’ offense. Columbus quarterback Grant Russell threw two interceptions, was sacked twice and had one fumble within the first half. During the opening procession, Cato-Bishop sacked and stripped the Destroyers quarterback of the football, and Martian scooped it up for a 41-yard Baltimore touchdown, his second of the season. Cato-Bishop is now fifth in the league with five sacks and finished the game with 3 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries. Jackson also recorded a sack for a loss of seven yards during the first quarter and now has 4.5 for the season.
Defensive backs Victorian and Powell both picked off Russell twice for a total of 26 yards in the first half. The Brigade led 14-0 after a 14-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to wide receiver Milton Williams III. Columbus added two scores to the board at the end of the second quarter, to trim Baltimore’s lead 14-12 but did not score for the remainder of the game. Powell returned the kickoff 57 yards for a Baltimore touchdown, his second kickoff return touchdown of the season. Baltimore led 21-12 going into halftime.
In the third quarter, Boyd found Hills for a 24-yard touchdown, Hills’ first of two for the night. Baltimore then added two points off a safety score when Powell forced a fumble that was recovered by a Destroyers player in the endzone. Then, Victorian scored his first pick-six of the season with an interception and a 36-yard touchdown. The Brigade ended the fourth quarter with wideout Brandon Collins rushing in for a one-yard touchdown and Morris finding Hills to seal the victory 50-12.
According to the Arena Football League, Baltimore will clinch a playoff spot if the Atlantic City Blackjacks lose this Saturday when they take on the Washington Valor at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The Brigade enter their bye week before facing off with the Valor on Saturday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena for their last home game on the regular season.
Join the Brigade for Fan Appreciation night by contacting the Brigade Ticket Sales office at 667-930-0200 or by email email@example.com.
MVP: BAL DB Josh Victorian: 3 tackles, all solo, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, 1 touchdown
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL WR Joe Hills 5 receptions, 62 yards, 2 touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB Joe Powell: 7 tackles (6 solo), 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass breakups, 1 kickoff return touchdown
Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith
Comments on what he likes and dislikes about overall team’s performance this season
“We are inconsistent. We need to shift some things up front offensively and hit the open receivers. We have to play better football offensively if we are going to accomplish anything. I like the way our defense is playing as a team. We’ve had some really strong points and we’ve had some low points. I like our character and our adversity, just have to find a way to be more consistent.”
On Josh Victorian performance
“Josh came ready to play and he was focused. When he plays focused and is not too emotional, he plays very well. That was something we talked about during the week. Not riding the rollercoaster when things go bad, not getting too low. Really proud of the way he played and his mental focus tonight.”
On Joe Powell performance
“Joe is a special athlete. He feels he is very good off the net and he made me a believer tonight. He made impactful plays on special teams and defensively, he is a very special talent.”
Defensive back Josh Victorian
On game in general
“It wasn’t just me out there. It’s a whole defensive effort. We have the best front side in the league right now with guys like Nias Martin and Joe Powell. We all play our part and we did our thing today.”
Defensive back Joe Powell
On scoring as a kick returner
“I have to give it to my blockers, my guys have been blocking great for me. I’ve been telling the coaches all year to put the ball in my hands. Once I get the ball in my hands, I had to prove I can do something with it. All glory to God.”
On Baltimore defensive backs
“This is what we do, we are honestly the best group in the league. We put in the work and we joke around, but the reason why we are so good is because we can ripe on each other, talk trash but we don’t argue with each other or get into bad blood. We are a family.”