The Baltimore Brigade (5-1) defeated the Philadelphia Soul (3-3), 54-35, Friday night at Royal Farms Arena, extending their lead in the league standings to 1.5 games over the Albany Empire.
Brigade quarterback Randy Hippeard was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his 210-yard, three-touchdown performance. Hippeard has won the MVP award in all five of the Brigade’s wins this season. Baltimore defensive back Virgil Gray recorded six solo tackles and four pass break-ups and was named Defensive Player of the Game.
“Any time you can win in this league you have to appreciate it,” Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said after the game. “Our guys came in here with a good focus. We made some plays in the first half. Defensively, we made the stops we needed to make. I’m proud of the guys.”
The Brigade jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after a pair of touchdown passes from Hippeard – the first, a 26-yard throw to wide receiver Quentin Sims and the second, a five-yard screen pass to tight end Jordan McCray. With 1:06 left in the first quarter, Philadelphia cut the Baltimore lead to 14-7 when wideout Darius Reynolds scored on a 28-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Greg McGhee. Hippeard answered with his third touchdown pass of the night, a 39-yarder to wide receiver Milton Williams, giving Baltimore a 20-7 lead with 12:35 left in the first half. After Philadelphia threw an interception on the following possession, Brigade fullback Rory Nixon scored his third rushing touchdown of the season, giving Baltimore a 27-7 lead. A fumble recovered in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff extended the Brigade’s lead to 33-7. With one second left in the half McGhee threw his second touchdown of the night to cut the lead to 33-14.
Defense dominated the early portions of the third quarter. Philadelphia scored the first points of the second half on a one-yard run by McGhee with 7:31 on the clock, cutting the Baltimore lead to 33-21. Nixon’s second rushing touchdown of the night put the Brigade back up by three possessions with just over 13 minutes left in the game. McGhee threw his third touchdown of the night, a nine-yarder to wideout Aaron Wascha, making the score 40-28, Baltimore, with 9:50 left in the game. With just over a minute remaining in the game, Brigade linebacker and wide receiver Lamark Brown scored a pair of touchdowns within a 12-second span. Brown first scored on a two-yard run and followed it up with an eight-yard interception return on the following possession. Philadelphia added another score with 39 seconds left, setting the final score at 54-35, Baltimore.
MVP: BAL QB Randy Hippeard – 18/23 passing, 210 yards and three touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: PHI QB Greg McGhee – 14/26 passing, 164 yards and five total touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB Virgil Gray – six solo tackles and four pass break-ups
The Brigade are on the road next weekend, taking on the Albany Empire on Saturday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at Times Union Center. Baltimore’s next home game is on Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena against the Washington Valor.
Photo: Baltimore Brigade Twitter account