Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations
Quarterback throws for six touchdowns, five different players find the end zone in home victory
COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers, presented by GermainCars.com, defeated the Atlantic City Blackjacks, 54-50, in front of 6,029 fans at Nationwide Arena on Friday night. With the win, the Destroyers improve to 1-6 on the season. Quarterback Grant Russell completed 16 of his 27 passes for 217 yards and six touchdowns in the win, while five different players found the end zone in the win. Wide receivers Paul Browning and Kenny Cook both caught two touchdowns on the night, with Cook catching the game-winner, a 13-yarder with 12 seconds left to seal the victory.
It didn’t take long for the Destroyers to strike, as Guerra returned the opening kick-off 57 yards for a touchdown to give Columbus an early 7-0 lead. After a defensive stop, Russell found Browning for an 11-yard touchdown to increase the Destroyers lead to 14-0 after one quarter of play.
The Blackjacks opened the second quarter with six of their own, as quarterback Randy Hippeard found wide receive LaMark Brown for a 35-yard touchdown, cutting Columbus’ lead to 14-7. The Destroyers responded on their next possession, with Russell finding Cook for a 23-yard touchdown, to extend the lead to two scores again, 21-7. Atlantic City responded again with Hippeard finding Brown for his second score of the game to trim the Columbus lead to 21-14. On the ensuing drive, Russell faked a hand-off and found offensive lineman Kevin Bowen standing all alone in the end zone for an easy pitch-and-catch touchdown, increasing the Columbus lead to 27-14. Hippeard found wide receiver Antwane Grant for a score to beat the buzzer, sending both teams into halftime with Columbus up, 27-21.
In the third quarter, Atlantic City marched 49 yards on seven plays capped off with a Hippeard to Brown touchdown to give the Blackjacks their first lead of the night, 28-27. Columbus reclaimed the lead on their next possession when wide receiver Tony Stevens ran it in from three yards out, giving the Destroyers a 34-28 edge. The Blackjacks grabbed the lead back, 35-34, at the end of the third quarter when Hippeard found Brown for his fourth touchdown of the night.
In the fourth, Russell connected with wide receiver Jenson Stoshak for a 28-yard touchdown to get the lead back, making the score 41-35 in favor of Columbus. Atlantic City answered once again, with Hippeard finding Brown for his fifth touchdown of the night, a 48-yarder to make the score 42-41 Blackjacks. Russell countered on the next series by finding Browning for a 15-yard touchdown, pushing the Destroyers in front once again, 47-42. The Blackjacks jumped back in front on their next series, as Hippeard plunged in from three yards out to make it 50-47 in favor of Atlantic City. Russell capped the scoring for the evening by finding Cook for the game-winner with 12 seconds left as Columbus claimed their first win of the year.
Next up for the Destroyers is a home matchup with the Baltimore Brigade on Saturday, June 15th at 3:30pm from Nationwide Arena. The game can be seen live on The CW, heard on CD102.5, and streamed on ESPN3.