News Release, Washington Valor
With the team picking up a big first win in Week Two, the Blackjacks transition into Week Three looking to keep momentum rolling. The defense was a big reason the Blackjacks found success against the Destroyers in their home opener. If they can replicate their play from Week Two, they should give the team another shot at victory against the Washington Valor (0-2). The Valor will be playing in their home opener and the Blackjacks will have to watch them raise their ArenaBowl Championship banner from last season. Fans can watch live on ESPN3 and the ESPN app or listen to the call on 97.3 ESPN. The game will NOT be aired live on NBCSP+, but will be shown the following day, Sunday May 12th, at 3:30 p.m. due to the local broadcast schedule.
“It’s always a tough matchup when you have to play the defending ArenaBowl Champions in their own hometown,” said Ron James, Head Coach of the Atlantic City Blackjacks. “The Washington Valor are a veteran team with a dangerous quarterback. We will have to play our best game of the season to come out on top in our nation’s capital.”
The first matchup to lookout for is going to be the Valor’s passing game and the Blackjacks secondary. Arvell Nelson leads the league in passing yards with 641 yards but has the lowest completion percentage in the league at 58%. He’s thrown for nine touchdowns which is second best in the league. The Blackjacks’ secondary will need to be sharp once more in this game.
Arthur Hobbs leads the league in tackles with 18 through two weeks. Playing alongside Kiante Northington, the two have been one of the best duos so far this season. Hobbs always keeps his man close and is ready to make the tackle when needed and Northington has shown his ability to breakup passes effectively. In Week Two, Northington had three key pass breakups, which prevented multiple touchdowns. The other man the Blackjacks will need to stop will be Dezmon Epps. Epps leads the league in receiving yards with 292 yards and touchdowns with five. Playing against a quarterback in Nelson who loves to throw the ball deep and Epps who has been one of the best receivers in the league so far should create a good matchup for fans to watch.
The next player to watch for will be LaMark Brown and if he can keep up his explosive start. Brown has four receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown so far this season. He leads the team in receiving yards with 128 and receptions with 13. Brown is a versatile weapon and has been the go-to receiver for Randy Hippeard in the first two weeks of the season. Hippeard uses the chemistry the two have built in years past to get the ball moving and to put points up on the board. So far, the Valor have given up 95 points and scored only 78, while the Blackjacks have both given up and scored 83 points. The Baltimore Brigade have only scored more points with 86, so Atlantic City needs to keep their foot on the gas when it comes to scoring points.
The last matchup to watch for will be how the defensive line will play this time around in Week Three. Last week they had a terrific game with Monte Lewis getting three sacks and a huge forced fumble and Antron Dillon getting a sack as well. They brought the pressure to the Destroyers offensive line and won the battle handedly. They will need to contain quarterback Arvell Nelson who is a mobile player in this matchup.
Nelson has 18 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns so the Blackjacks defensive line will need to keep him at bay and get to the pocket quickly. The linebackers will also have to keep his mobility in mind to prevent any open lanes from opening to run through. LaRoche Jackson had played excellent in this position and will need to show up to win this matchup, along with other members of the line. If everyone can communicate and work together effectively, the Valor should have a hard time putting points on the board.
Fans can secure their season tickets for the Atlantic City Blackjacks now with a $50 deposit per seat ($75 for VIP seats) by calling 609-783-9494 or by going to ACBlackjacks.com. A team representative will contact those that have submitted a deposit within a week to select your specific seats, which will be done in order in which deposits were received.