Courtesy: Atlantic City Blackjacks Media Relations
Columbus Picks Up Their First Win of the Season
COLUMBUS, OH – The Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-4) started their four-game road trip at Nationwide Arena in front of 6,029 fans against the Columbus Destroyers (1-6). This was a back and forth game all the way through, but the Blackjacks couldn’t find more late game heroics.
The Destroyers wasted no time to get going as Fabian Guerra took the opening kickoff to the house, his third kick return touchdown of the season. Randy Hippeard and his offense would be faced with three fourth downs on their first drive. Kendrick Ings converted on the first two but Hippeard couldn’t get the ball into the end zone on the third try and the Destroyers would take over on downs on their own four-yard line. Grant Russell took his offense down the field and capped off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Paul Browning as the first quarter came to an end with a score of 0-14 in favor of Columbus.
Hippeard led his offense on the field needing to get the ball in the end zone. The first play was a quick pass to LaMark Brown, and he evaded his defender as he made his way down the field into the end zone for the 35-yard touchdown. The Blackjacks’ defense didn’t have an answer as Russell connected with Kenny Cook for the 23-yard touchdown on the following drive. The Blackjacks would need to go 41-yards to answer the Destroyers’ touchdown. The offense would be faced with yet another fourth down as Brown picked up enough yards to keep the drive going. Hippeard would lean on Brown once more as he caught the five-yard pass for the touchdown to get the Blackjacks to within one score. Mark Lewis would attempt the onside kick, but the Destroyers would get on it first and only needed 10-yards for the touchdown. That touchdown would come two plays later and the Destroyers would extend the lead, but the extra point was missed by kicker Craig Peterson. Hippeard would be left with under two-minutes to play in the half as the offense took the field. As time was about to expire, Hippeard was able to find Antwane Grant for the touchdown to end the half at 21-27.
The Blackjacks received the ball to start the second half. Starting on their own one-yard line, Hippeard would need to move the ball the whole length of the field. On third down from their own five-yard line, Hippeard heaved one up deep to Ings for the 40-yard completion to set up the first-and-goal. After three denied tries for the end zone, the offense would be faced with their fifth fourth down play of the game. Brown snagged the pass out of the air for the touchdown and the Blackjacks took their first lead of the game. The lead would be taken back after Russell drove his team 49-yards for the score as Tony Stevens ran it in three-yards for the touchdown. Ings would give Hippeard and the offense good field position as he returned the ball 20-yards. Yet again, the Blackjacks would face a fourth down with only two yards needed for the first down and the touchdown. It was Brown once more to secure the touchdown and put the Blackjacks back in the lead with 13 seconds to go in the third quarter. The quarter would end with the Blackjacks in the lead by one, 35-34.
The back and forth action continued into the fourth quarter with Russell finding Jenson Stoshak wide-open for the 28-yard touchdown. Hippeard wasted no time to get the lead back. On the first play of the drive he went deep to Brown for the 47-yard touchdown, Brown’s fifth score of the game. The defense still didn’t have an answer as Browning hauled in another touchdown and the Destroyers would retake the lead with six minutes to play. After chewing some time off the clock, Hippeard pushed his way into the end zone on the quarterback sneak for the touchdown and would succeed on the following two-point conversion to go up by three with just over two minutes to play. The Blackjacks were guilty of two- straight pass interference calls and with 25 seconds remaining, Russell would only need 13-yards for the touchdown. On third down Russell found Cook for the touchdown. With 12 seconds to play Ings gave Hippeard a chance with a good return. Hippeard heaved one up to Ings in the end zone but he just couldn’t hang on as the pass was ruled incomplete. With three seconds remaining, Hippeard had one more play to try and get the Blackjacks the win. After a series of laterals, the ball hit the ground and the Destroyers would secure their first win of the season. The Blackjacks will head to Philadelphia on Sunday, June 16 to take on the Soul at 4:00 p.m.