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Blackjacks Come up One Score Short against the Valor

May 11, 2019 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Atlantic City Blackjacks News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Blackjacks stood at the end of their tunnel and watched as the Washington Valor raised their ArenaBowl 31 Championship banner in front of the home crowd at Capital One Arena. Following the presentation, the Valor received the ball first. It was all Washington Valor in the first quarter. Arvell Nelson would open the scoring on a 32-yard run on fourth-and-four for the touchdown. The Blackjacks faced a fourth-and-four of their own on their opening drive. Randy Hippeard found a wide-open Antwane Grant who ran it into Valor territory. The Blackjacks faced another fourth down but could not convert this time around, the Valor would take over on downs on their own 14-yard line. The first quarter would end with the Valor facing a third-and-goal leading the Blackjacks 6-0.

The opening play of the second quarter was a quarter back sneak which the Blackjacks stopped immediately. The Valor faced another fourth down which was knocked out of the air by Marvin Ross and the Blackjacks took over on their own 4-yard line. After a few plays, Hippeard found Grant with a big play to get the ball to the 2-yard line. Hippeard would take it into the end zone himself and Mark Lewis would connect on the extra point to give the Blackjacks a 7-6 lead. The Valor marched down the field and Nelson connected with Reggie Gray for the touchdown. Hippeard went long on third down looking for Kendrick Ings but was intercepted by Marrio Norman in the end zone. Washington started on their own 5-yard line and would convert on another fourth down. The Valor would score another touchdown with 16 seconds to go in the first half and would lead 20-7.

The Blackjacks started the second half with a quick pass to Grant who picked up 10 yards and got another 10 yards on a roughing the passer penalty against Washington. A few dropped balls later would leave the Blackjacks facing another fourth down. Hippeard would pick up the first down on a pass to Grant. LaMark Brown picked up where he left off last week with a rushing touchdown to cut the lead to six midway through the third quarter. The Valor would answer with Nelson finding a wide-open Reggie Gray in the end zone for a touchdown. On the first play of the next drive, Hippeard found Ings across the middle of the field and he took it all the way to the house for a 49-yard touchdown to close the lead to only six once more. The Valor would take a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Valor slowly marched down the field and the Blackjacks were called for pass interference on a big play to give the Valor a first and goal. They would score on the next play and yet again extend the lead. The Blackjacks responded with a successful challenge on a 21-yard pass that was ruled incomplete. Hippeard connected with Brown for an 11-yard touchdown but kicker Mark Lewis would miss the extra point. Lewis would try for an onside kick but would come up empty. The Valor would need to go just eight yards for the touchdown and would get it three plays later. The Blackjacks faced a 14-point deficit with only 2:16 left in the game. The Blackjacks moved the ball quickly and Brown found himself with another touchdown. With 30 seconds to play the Blackjacks needed to recover the onside kick which they did not. The Valor would knee the ball and time would expire. The Blackjacks will travel back home in Week 4 and take on the Baltimore Brigade on Saturday May 18th at 7:00PM.

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