OCEAN CITY - A defensive tug-of-war suddenly turned into an offensive show by the Atlantic City High School football team as the fourth quarter began Friday night at Carey Stadium.
Atlantic City scored all of its points in the final 12 minutes as the Vikings stormed back from a six-point deficit to win the Cape-Atlantic League interdivision game 27-6.
Ocean City scored late in the third quarter to go up 6-0, but Atlantic City responded with touchdowns on all four of its final possessions.
The Vikings, who were 1-9 last year, are now 2-0 under new coach Thomas Kelly.
"It feels great to be 2-0," Kelly said. "Ocean City is a good football team and they played us tough. It's high school football. People say what they want during the week, but it comes down to what you do on the field. We had a huge conditioning program to prepare us to step it up in the fourth quarter. It's the second week in a row that we came back in the fourth quarter to win."
Atlantic City beat St. Augustine 26-24 last week.
Ocean City's Matt Franklin went 1 yard up the middle for a touchdown to break a 0-0 tie with 1 minute, 21 seconds left in the third quarter.
It took the Vikings less than two minutes to tie it as Radi Tolbert ran 15 yards to a touchdown. The extra-point snap was bobbled briefly and the kick was blocked, so it stayed 6-6.
Ocean City got one first down but then was forced to punt. But the kick never got away due to another bad snap, and A.C. took over at the Ocean City 11-yard line.
Orris Gallagher scored the first of two consecutive touchdowns on the next play. Tolbert easily scored around left end for an important two points that made it 14-6 Atlantic City.
"I played straight defense (outside linebacker) in the game, and I was in and out on offense, so I was pretty fresh," Gallagher said. "The coach really conditioned us a lot this year. I was on the team last year, so it's awesome to be 2-0. Ocean City was pretty tough. It woke us up when we were down 6-0."
The Red Raiders went three-and-out and Gallagher went 60 yards off right tackle and outran everyone for another TD that made it 20-6 with 3:21 left. Ocean City fumbled the ball away on the kickoff and Jamil Bailey ran 5 yards four plays later for Atlantic City's final touchdown.
Vikings quarterback Jamal Anderson was only 5-for-16 for 39 yards passing and two interceptions, but he directed Atlantic City's running game well and ran for 47 yards on 11 carries.
Ocean City stopped Atlantic City on the Red Raiders' 6-inch line early in the game. A.C.'s Malik Wellman intercepted a pass by O.C. quarterback Matt Schuler and ran to the Red Raiders' 7-yard line. Anderson's keeper got it to the 6-inch line, but he was tackled for a 2-yard loss on the next play and an illegal procedure penalty helped to kill the drive.
Ocean City also ran the ball well. Running back Craig Schultheis rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries to lead O.C.
"I think the final score doesn't indicate the way we played," Ocean City coach Mark Impagliazzo said. "I don't want to take anything away from Atlantic City, but we have several guys who never come off the field. We got a little worn down at the end. We made some mistakes in the fourth quarter and gave them a short field and they got some quick scores."
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