Courtesy: Atlantic City Blackjacks Media Relations
The Blackjacks Move Back to 0.500 With Victory
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The Blackjacks looked to finish their homestand with an important win over the Baltimore Brigade. After a back-and-forth battle, the Blackjacks came out on top on a last second blocked field goal. The Blackjacks now face a four-game road trip starting in Columbus against the Destroyers in Week 7
Atlantic City opened the scoring with a nice drive put together by Randy Hippeard, LaMark Brown, and Kendrick Ings. Wes Mauia finished the drive off with a seven-yard rush for the score. The Brigade had a safe approach to their first drive with a series of short plays. The Blackjacks tested quarterback Shane Boyd early with a fourth down. Boyd found Joe Hills for the 11-yard touchdown to extend Hills’ streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 98. Hippeard led his team down to the Brigade 4-yard line as the first quarter came to an end at 7-7.
Hippeard found Rashad Still in the corner of the end zone on the second play of the second quarter to give the Blackjacks a one score lead. Kicker Mark Lewis tried for the onside kick right after, but the Brigade recovered the ball. Boyd and his offense only needed to go seven yards for the touchdown. Hills again would have his number called as he ran the ball in for the touchdown. After Ings returned the kick across midfield, Mauia had a big gain on the screen pass. Hippeard then found Brown on a five-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Ervin Phillips had a great kick return for the Brigade, bringing the ball all the way to the Blackjacks three-yard line. Rory Nixon trotted his way into the end zone to tie the game at 21. Antwane Grant caught a nice pass from Hippeard but was stripped of the ball after dragging his defender all the way to the Brigade nine-yard line. Boyd took his offense down the field and Hills was able to score his third touchdown of the game. Kicker TC Stevens missed the extra point and the first half came to an end with the Brigade leading the Blackjacks 21-27.
The Brigade received the kick to start the second half. Boyd would find a wipe-open Milton Williams for the first score of the half. Now facing a 13-point deficit, Hippeard and the offense needed to be nearly perfect. After an intentional grounding penalty against Hippeard, the Blackjacks faced a long third down. Hippeard was able to find Brown streaking across the middle which he hauled in for the score. This trimmed the Brigade’s lead to six points. Now it was time for the defense to come up big. After LaRoche Jackson left the game with an injury, the defense batted a ball down and the Brigade were faced with fourth down. Kiante Northington broke up the pass and the Blackjacks forced the Brigade to turn the ball over on downs. Following a roughing the passer penalty against Robert Hayes, four yards was all that stood in Hippeard’s way. He found Ings once more on the quick pass for the score. The Blackjacks were back in the lead by one to start the fourth quarter.
The Brigade would start the fourth quarter with a deep pass that was defended perfectly by Marvin Ross. Boyd stuck to more conservative play calls and with the help of a holding penalty was able to find himself with a first and goal with only four yards needed. A huge defensive play by Antron Dillon was made as he forced a fumble. The Blackjacks jumped on the loose ball and took over on their own two-yard line. Hippeard was later sacked which backed up the offense on third down. After a penalty on Grant, Hippeard would need to get 20 yards for the first down. Grant picked up the first down on the next play but lost the ball and fumbled it on the six-yard line. With the crowd behind them and under a minute to play, the defense would need to stop the Brigade to secure the win. With 17.8 seconds the Brigade picked up the first down and needed only four yards for the score. Nixon was stuffed at the line with 11.3 seconds remaining. Marvin Ross broke up a pass defending Hills in the end zone to bring up third down. Ross would break up another pass and bring up fourth down. The field goal unit would be brought onto the field with 5.3 seconds to go. The ball was snapped, and Dillon blew up the play and was able to get his hand on the kick to block it as time expired. The Blackjacks will now start their road trip against the Columbus Destroyers on Friday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m.