Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations
Rowley throws for five touchdowns in spot start as team drops its final game of 2019 season
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Columbus Destroyers, presented by GermainCars.com, fell to the Washington Valor, 56-50, at Capital One Arena on Saturday afternoon in the team’s final game of the 2019 season. With the loss, the Destroyers close their seasons with a 1-11 record. Quarterback Kyle Rowley, signed on Wednesday to replace the injured Grant Russell, threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in the loss. Wide receivers Kenny Cook and Rob Wheelwright scored two touchdowns, while receivers Paul Browning and Julian Lowe found pay dirt as well.
After an interception on Columbus’ first drive, the Valor got on the board first when quarterback Arvell Nelson found wide receiver Josh Reese for a 12-yard touchdown reception, giving Washington an early 6-0 lead. Rowley answered on the next drive by connecting with Wheelwright on a 15-yard strike, tying things up, 6-6. After a failed onside kick by the Destroyers, Nelson gave the Valor the lead once again by hitting wide receiver Jared Dangerfield for a quick touchdown to give Washington a 13-6 advantage. Rowley responded himself on the ensuing possession by hitting a wide-open Cook in stride for a 23-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to even things up once again, 13-13.
A defensive stop in the second quarter by the Columbus defense gave the ball back to the Destroyers, who jumped back in front on a Wheelwright rushing score from one yard out, his second touchdown of the game. The score gave Columbus their first lead of the game, 20-13. The Valor countered with a score of their own on the next series, when Nelson and wide receiver Douglas McNeil III hooked up for an 18-yard touchdown to tie the score, 20-20. The Destroyers turned the ball over on downs on their next series and the Valor made them pay when Nelson hit wide receiver Dezmon Epps in stride for a long touchdown to give Washington a 27-20 edge. The Destroyers drew even once more just before the break when Rowley managed to get off a pass under heavy pressure to find Browning for a nine-yard touchdown to knot the score up once again, 27-27, at the half.
Dangerfield got in the end zone early in the third quarter on a pass from Nelson to give the Valor the lead once again, 34-27. Destroyers defensive back Varmah Sonie returned the ensuing kick-off 48 yards for a touchdown to tie it up, 34-34. On the next Washington offensive series, Sonie came up big again by intercepting Nelson, which led to Rowley finding Cook for an 11-yard touchdown, giving Columbus the lead back, 41-34.
The Valor responded early in the fourth quarter as Nelson scored from one yard to make the score, 41-41. After a turnover, Nelson picked up his second straight rushing touchdown from one yard out to give Washington the lead, 48-41. On Columbus’ next series, Rowley converted on fourth and 11 by finding Otterbein graduate and Gahanna native Lowe for his first professional touchdown, a 49-yarder to make it 48 all. The Destroyers would then re-claim the lead on the next drive as Nelson would fumble and be sacked in the endzone for a safety, giving Columbus a 50-48 edge. The Valor would recover the onside kick, however, as Nelson marched the Valor offense down field and found wide receiver Reggie Gray for the game-winning score, sealing a 56-50 home win.