Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations
Russell throws five touchdowns in his first start; Guerra catches three touchdowns in debut
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The Columbus Destroyers, presented by GermainCars.com, fell just short to the Atlantic City Blackjacks on Saturday afternoon, 42-35, at the Boardwalk Hall. With the loss, the Destroyers drop to 0-2 on the season. Quarterback Grant Russell made his first career start, throwing for 211 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception, while wide receiver Fabian Guerra caught five passes for 44 yards and three touchdowns in his debut.
After a turnover on the opening kickoff, the Destroyers cashed in when Russell found wide receiver Paul Revis for a five-yard scoring strike, giving Columbus an early 6-0 lead. On the next drive, Atlantic City wide receiver LaMark Brown rushed for a two-yard score to give the Blackjacks their first lead of the game, 7-6. The Destroyers answered on the ensuing possession when Russell found Guerra for a six-yard touchdown, giving Columbus the lead once again, 13-7.
The teams continued trading leads in the second quarter as Blackjacks quarterback Randy Hippeard took it in himself from one yard out, giving Atlantic City a 14-13 lead. The home team responded on their next drive, as wide receiver Antwane Grant rushed for a nine-yard touchdown, as the Blackjacks reclaimed the lead, 21-20 heading into halftime.
After the Destroyers turned it over on downs to open the third quarter, the Blackjacks extended their lead thanks to Hippeard finding fullback Wesley Mauia for a two-yard touchdown.
In the opening moments of the fourth quarter Russell threw his fourth touchdown of the game, finding Guerra for his second score of the day, trimming Atlantic City’s lead to 28-27. After both teams traded turnovers, Hippeard connected with Brown on a 10-yard touchdown to give the Blackjacks a 35-27 advantage with seven minutes left in the game. On Columbus’ next drive, Atlantic City defensive lineman Lynden Trail picked off Russell and rumbled 12 yards for the score, giving the Blackjacks their largest lead of the game, 42-27.
On the next drive, Columbus closed the scoring for the evening when Russell connected with Guerra for his third receiving touchdown of the night. Russell ran it in himself for the two-point conversion, sealing a 42-35 victory for Atlantic City.