ATLANTIC CITY - The reviews were mixed on the Atlantic City High School football team's performance as it overcame its many mistakes to roll over Vineland 30-16 on Friday.
Following an early touchdown by Vineland, the Vikings dominated to score four straight touchdowns, and five in all. However, A.C. didn't convert an extra point or two-point conversion all night and turned the ball over six times.
Atlantic City's main offensive threat was senior Radi Tolbert, who played wide receiver and some quarterback.
Tolbert lined up at quarterback sometimes in the second half and scored touchdowns from 42 and 5 yards out from that position.
"We made a lot of mistakes tonight, but we fought though it," said Tolbert, 17, an Atlantic City resident. "I kind of like to move around (from the two positions) to keep the defense guessing. I feel good, especially after the loss last week (16-13 to Egg Harbor Township)."
Atlantic City improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Cape-Atlantic League American Division. Vineland dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the division.
"We made a lot of mistakes, but it's better to make corrections after a win," Atlantic City coach Thomas Kelly said. "We want to stay positive. We have a monster game ahead of us (hosting Hammonton next Friday).
"We have to work on (extra points). We've had a lot of nail-biters the last two years that were decided by one or two points. We spend more time on special teams than most teams, but maybe we have to spend more."
Atlantic City fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, and Vineland recovered at the Vikings' 34.
Running back Marcus Nelson gained 25 yards to the 6-yard line, and then took it over from the 1-yard line three plays later. Nelson also ran for two points and the Fighting Clan led 8-0.
Atlantic City countered with a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Ahmaad Williams, a 6-yard score by Vikings quarterback Kabir McCoy on a keeper play, and a 12-yard TD pass from McCoy to wide receive Ishmil Naji. A.C. tried to pass for two points after each of the touchdowns, but all the attempts failed and it was 18-6 at halftime.
Tolbert took control on his team's first possession of the second half. From the shotgun formation at quarterback, Tolbert got 30 yards on first down, and on the next play ran 42 yards up the middle through a huge hole. An extra-point kick was wide right but A.C. looked safe at 24-8.
Vineland got back into it as defensive back Isaiah Spencer picked up another A.C. fumble and ran 55 yards to a touchdown. Nelson ran for two points and it was 24-16.
Atlantic City returned the kickoff to the 50 and Tolbert, again at quarterback, carried six times as the Vikings took seven plays to score an insurance touchdown.
"Sometimes we snap the ball directly to the ball carrier, and that gives us an extra blocker," Kelly said.
Vineland tried the running game, with back Marcus Nelson (21 carries for 96 yards), plus R.J. Morgan, and Spencer. But the Fighting Clan had almost no success with the pass. Quarterback Tory Clark was injured late in the second quarter, and backup Angel Rodriguez finished the game.
"We came here to get a win, but we did some things well that we can build on," Vineland coach Josh Hedgeman said. "We have a young team and I'm proud of our effort, but we have to improve in every area. You have to finish your drives, and we had penalties and other things that stopped us. But we're getting better."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Vineland 8 0 8 0-16
Atlantic City 6 12 6 6-30
V-Nelson 1 run (Nelson run)
AC-Williams 4 run (pass failed)
AC-McCoy 6 run (pass failed)
AC-Naji 12 pass from McCoy (pass failed)
AC-Tolbert 42 run (kick failed)
V-Spencer 55 fumble return (Nelson run)
AC-Tolbert 5 run (kick failed)
TEAM STATS V AC
First downs 8 10
Rushing 150 242
Passing 7 74
Turnovers 2 6
Rushing-V-Morgan 10-29, Nelson 21-96, Spencer 9-22, Rodriguez 2--10, Rankin 2-13. AC-McCoy 10-32, Hurd 10-93, Williams 4-21, McBryde 1--4, Tolbert 7-97, D. Reynolds 1-3.
Passing-V-Clark 1-5-2-7, Rodriguez 0-3-0-0. AC-McCoy 4-7-1-74.
Receiving-V-Douglas 1-7. AC Naji 3-32, Tolbert 1-42.
Records-A.C. 5-1; Vineland 2-4.