The Absegami High School football team battled Atlantic City in near freezing temperatures Friday night, Nov. 16 in a game that saw strong defense by both teams in the first half. In the second half, an explosion of offense helped Atlantic City erase a three touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter.
Fourth-seeded Atlantic City defeated No. 5 Absegami, 34-30, in an NJSIAA South Jersey Group V quarterfinal playoff matchup.
The Vikings (7-2) will visit No. 1 Williamstown, a 41-6 winner over No. 8 Millville, in two weeks in the semifinals.
On Friday night, after falling at home to Atlantic City last week, the Braves held a 30-13 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
Atlantic City's defense then stopped the Braves' offense on consecutive drives, sparking a rally for the Vikings that would see the lead slip away with only seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Consecutive scoring drives from Atlantic City saw touchdown runs by quarterback Jarren McBryde and Domeneek Brown-Hurd, cutting the Braves' lead to 30-27.
The Braves lost the ball with less then three minutes to go in the game and the Vikings converted three times on third down to the 11 yard line for a 3rd and 2.
With the prospect of overtime looming the Vikings broke through to convert and go the ball down to the one yard line.
With 55.2 seconds left, McBryde slammed across the goal line for the game-winning touchdown.
Early on, it was all Absegami.
Absegami scored first with a 38-yard touchdown run by running back Tyler Bing. On a sweep to the right, Bing broke through multiple defenders and went up the sideline for the score.
The Vikings wasted no time getting back in the game. In the ensuing drive, they converted twice on third down and again on fourth on their way to a Tyshick Wright touchdown that went for 15 yards.
At the start of the game, the temperature at Atlantic City High School was a frigid 36 degrees. The offenses, however, would heat up in the second half, as the Braves and the Vikings put up a combined 51 points.
The Braves wasted no time in scoring on a 68-yard touchdown rush by Tyler Bing straight up the middle, giving the Braves a 14-6 lead only 22 seconds into the half.
The Vikings fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Braves recovered. The Braves converted the turnover into points with a Nick Della Vecchia field goal to put the Braves up 17-6.
A key sack on the following drive set up the next score. The Vikings advanced to the 49 yard line on the drive, but on 4th and 5, a stout Braves defense crashed the line and got a sack to take the ball back, within striking distance.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Mike Dolan gave Absegami a 24-6 lead.
Atlantic City responded, and cut the lead to 24-13 on a McBryde pass to Tyshiek Wright.
However, a Bing 66-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter seemed to seal the deal for Absegami at 30-13.
However, Atlantic City rallied and remained alive in the hunt for the inaugural South Jersey Group V championship.
The Braves fell to 5-4, but the season is not yet over. They will travel to Oakcrest for their annual Thanksgiving game Thursday morning.