BRIGADE FALL TO EMPIRE IN FINAL AFL PLAYOFF GAME

Baltimore eliminated from postseason with loss

The fourth-seeded Baltimore Brigade (7-5, 0-2) were defeated by the top-seeded Albany Empire at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD on Saturday night 62-21. Albany advances to ArenaBowl 32 with an aggregate score of 123-47 in the AFL home-and-home playoff series.

Baltimore quarterback Shane Morris made his first career start and recorded new postseason highs in pass completions and passing yards and tied his previous high in touchdowns. He finished the night with 19 passes for 110 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Two Brigade receivers found the endzone, with rookie wide receiver Ervin Philips scoring his first postseason touchdown and veteran wideout Joe Hills recording one receiving and one rushing touchdown.  Hills has scored a touchdown reception in 12 consecutive postseason games dating to 2013. He finished the regular season keeping his AFL streak alive with 103 consecutive regular season games with a touchdown reception.

On the defensive side, Baltimore defensive back Joe Powell led the Brigade with 3.5 total tackles (3 solo), followed by defensive backs Nias Martin and Jamal Robinson who both tallied 2.5 total tackles (2 solo).  Defensive lineman Justin Lawrence blocked a field goal attempt in the third quarter, preventing Albany from adding an extra point. Lawrence recorded two blocks during the regular season.

Albany was consistent throughout the night, scoring 49 points in the first half, including two scores from interceptions. Baltimore added their only points to the scoreboard in the first quarter with a seven-yard pass from Morris to Hills.

Baltimore went on to score two more times with a 21-yard touchdown from Morris to Philips in the third quarter and a six-yard score from Hills. Baltimore kept Albany to just 13 points in the second half for a final score of 62-21.

After the game, Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith  Commented on home-and-home playoff series performance

“We didn’t play well at all, in all facets. I talked about going into this playoff series what a challenge it will be. We talked about taking care of the little things, we needed to take care of the ball against a very talented team but we didn’t do that. We needed to step up so it’s very disheartening how we played in these two games. However, starting tomorrow we are going to reevaluate our program from top to bottom and work to get better. I’m a fighter. I thought we had an overall good season, had some highs and had some lows. I didn’t like the way we finished the season so that will be a motivator throughout the entire off season.”

Then Commented on quarterback Shane Morris

“When you have a rookie quarterback in a playoff atmosphere against a very good defense, you are going to struggle a little bit. I think he played well in the second half; he struggled a little bit in the first half. It was very valuable that he got that experience. He is a young quarterback that we think has a very promising future and his best football is well ahead of him.”

And Closed out with Comments on Baltimore fans                                                                 

“I appreciate the Baltimore fanbase tremendously. They come out and support us. Win or lose, they always come back and support us. I think we have one of the most loyal fanbase in the AFL. We are going to put a better product on the field next year and I expect our fanbase to increase.”

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