Category Archives: Atlantic City

Raising the Banner

by Bee Jay Glosson

Saturday night football in D.C. can only mean one thing, time to raise the banner. In front of a crowd of more than 8,000,  the defending champions of Arena Bowl 31, the Washington Valor, gave the fans exactly what they wanted and needed.  With a pre-game ceremony that saw the home team raise a championship banner into the rafters, celebrating what is and most likely always will be, the most improbable championship team in Arena history, the Valor gave the crowd everything it had.

With the Atlantic City Blackjacks in town, along with a couple former Valor players and coaches including QB Warren Smith Jr. and assistant head coach Shane Stafford, raising the banner and winning seemed to be a unspoken priority.  The emotion of the ceremony carried over into the game as the Valor scored on their first drive and continued to score on every drive of the game except 1.  If you still haven’t jumped on a MVP train, Arvell Nelson is the train you have been waiting on. 

With 17 total touchdowns in 3 games, 5 of those being rushing touchdowns, Arvell Nelson leads the league in rushing and passing yards and also total touchdowns.  He lead the Valor to 6 touchdown drives in 7 tries and no interceptions in the contest against the visiting Blackjacks. The Blackjacks tried to keep the game close the entire way but in the end, the Valor proved to be too much as they took the lead early in the first half and never gave it back for the rest of the game.

When asked about prior weeks mishaps, head coach Benji Mcdowell said ” I think we have gotten past that and I believe we are on the path to being a better team.”  In which, is refreshing after the amount of turnovers on downs and interceptions (6) the Valor have given up inside the 7 yard line this year. Wide receiver Reggie Gray when interviewed stated that “the sky is the limit for this offense!”

Was the game a blowout? No. Was the game a close contest? Yes. The lead never stretched more than 14 and stayed within 7 points most of the game, making for a nail biting experience for the hometown fans as they cheered their beloved Valor on to a home opening win.  Randy Hippeard, Atlantic City’s quarterback, took his squad to the endzone 5 times in the game, but that wasn’t enough to close the gap. 

Arvell Nelson when asked about his MVP tempo on the year stated “I don’t think about stuff like that, I just do the little things needed to win and if the awards come at the end of the year, then I did my job.”  He may not be thinking about the awards but he is certainly playing at a level that puts him at the top of the list when we think about the awards.

The Philadelphia Soul come into town next weekend, and it appears the Washington Valor are ready and waiting. As Philly has lost their first game of the season and Washington has won their first, this game sets up a streak breaker. Can the Valor win 2 in a row and cause the Soul to lose 2, or will the Valor lose their way and the Soul find a way to get back on track?

The fullback for the Valor, William Corbin, when asked said “This is an exciting time and we can’t wait to take the next step!”  I agree with Mr. Corbin, and I hope you do too. So, with the banner raised, the first W in the books and the season a quarter of the way through, it’s exciting to be a fan of the AFL. Don’t forget to tune in this weekend as the Soul and Valor face off in their week 4 contest.

BattleStations Episode 11: Mr. Russell Goes to Atlantic City

Tonight we talk with Columbus Destroyers Head Coach Matthew Sauk, quarterback Grant Russell, and Atlantic City Blackjacks Radio Voice Coffee Jones.

BattleStations: a Columbus Destroyers podcast in conjunction with AFL Fan Zone. 
Follow Frank Walker on Twitter at @BStationPod and at

Blackjacks @ Soul – Post-game Coaches’ Comments

by David Taylor

Photo: David Taylor

The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Atlantic City Blackjacks today, 48-41, in the season opener for both teams.

Coach Ron James- Atlantic City Blackjacks

On the Marvin Ross injury:

“They’re take them to the hospital for precautions. He looked like he was moving his extremities. You know, we will see how it goes. When we get the doctor’s report. Right now it is too early to tell. But you  know, it was a terrible hit to take and nobody wants to see that happen. You know, overall it’s gonna be the doctor’s call, so what he does down the road here, but you know certainly it is a loss.”

On the turnovers:

“The turnovers turned the grade (of the game) down. So you know I thought we were playing at an A level, we were scoring on almost every possession. We want to be scoring on about 85-90 percent of our possessions. And those turnovers turned the A in this game to a C, and a C is not good enough in this league.”

The most positive thing:

“The most positive thing our team did is we have a lot of rookies that performed at a high level, you know when you get all those guys coming in in their first game and making plays, and contributing, I thought that was something. I thought we showed a lot of energy on special teams and kickoffs, the way we covered. I thought our kickoff return we had a couple of opportunities to take some returns back and we didn’t quite finish there. So that what it is all about, it’s getting better, its progression you know for an expansion team, we are looking at just the progression of what we are are doing. And we came in here and I think we accounted for ourselves well and now we have to go home and figure out game two.”

Clint Dolezel- Philadelphia Soul Coach

Overall feeling for the first game of the season:

“Um, You now, if you’d have asked me in the first quarter and a half, i’d say Oh my gosh I’ve got the wrong guys in. But I mean they had to settle in. I had a rookie off the net and it cost us right off the bat. But in his defense, probably five or six of those balls, I don’t care who was back there, they were going to be tough to catch, so he got broke in really fast. And we have a new center, and of course he goes down with, looks like a dislocated wrist, so he’s done. Some other positions had to step up and move guys around too.”

On the two big interceptions:

“The first one was the momentum changer that got us back in the game honestly. It is hard to run away from somebody in this game, but we were on the verge of that happening to us because things weren’t working too well for us. We’d just lost our center, had to move some guys around, weren’t playing well, and the momentum was truly changed. Those two interceptions, I mean I have never seen the ball just like stick in his hands like that. He has good hands, but I mean those were two tough catches, they were bullets, He caught them and took them to the house. I mean, that is James to a tee though. I mean, once you get the ball in his hands, he’s tough to get down. He’s been our return guy before and it’s the same thing. He definitely was our MVP of the game today.”

Philadelphia Soul vs. Atlantic City Blackjacks – Week 1 Preview

Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media

By David Taylor

Three-time ArenaBowl champions, the Philadelphia Soul take the field on Saturday for the Arena Football League season opener. The Soul will be taking on the Atlantic City Blackjacks, a newly formed expansion team that is looking to make its mark on the AFL. The Soul will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 2018 season, in which they finished 7-5 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh returns for the Soul. The nine year AFL veteran threw 36 touchdown passes last season, despite missing five games. Joining Raudabaugh is WR Darius Prince, the 2017 ArenaBowl MVP. Look for those two to light up the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon.

Atlantic City will be led by quarterback Randy Hippeard, whose previous game experience includes an MVP level stint with the Tampa Bay Storm. Wide Receiver Kendrick Ings will be teaming up with Hippeard for the third straight season.

Look for big numbers to be put up on both sides. The Soul are getting to start the season at home for the first time in eight seasons, so expect a frenzied crowd. The Blackjacks are a new franchise, so some chemistry issues among teammates may arise due to the raucous home crowd.

Prediction: The Soul are among the AFL elite, so anticipate them to cruise in this one.

Soul 63, Blackjacks 42