ATLANTIC CITY - With each touchdown and big catch, wide receiver Dayshawn Reynolds spoils the Atlantic City High School football coaches a little more.
Reynolds caught seven passes for 169 yards and a touchdown to lead the Vikings to a 19-7 upset of Hammonton in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game Friday night. Reynolds has caught 14 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns this season.
"We expect that out of Dayshawn," Vikings coach Thomas Kelly said. "He's a big-time ballplayer. Some people think it's unbelievable that he does those things, but it's believable to us."
Hammonton (3-2) is ranked No. 8 in The Press Elite 11. The victory, Atlantic City's third straight, keeps the Vikings (3-1) in contention for the conference title and gives them a boost toward the South Jersey Group V playoffs.
Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta is probably tired of watching Reynolds play. The senior returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown last season to help Atlantic City beat Hammonton 13-9.
"I treat every team like they're better than us," Reynolds said. "I'm just playing my game."
On Friday, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound Reynolds changed the tenor of the game with one catch. Hammonton controlled the field position early.
Atlantic City faced a third-and-4 from its own 13-yard line in the second quarter. Reynolds caught a pass along the Hammonton sideline 15 yards downfield. He then eluded a tackler and sprinted along the sideline for a 79-yard gain to give the Vikings the ball at the Hammonton 8.
That was the first of several big plays Reynolds made despite having missed practice all week with an injured shoulder.
"That got my momentum going," Reynolds said. "It got my confidence up."
Two plays after the 79-yard gain, quarterback Jarren McBryde threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Demond Cottman to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first half.
Atlantic City took the lead for good with 58.6 seconds left in the first half when Reynolds jumped a caught an 18-yard touchdown pass between two defenders to give the Vikings a 13-7 advantage.
The Vikings speed gave them an advantage on offense and defense. Hammonton struggled to run outside against Atlantic City's speedy defense. Vikings linebacker Jamil Whitted chased down Blue Devils ball carriers and made two tackles for losses.
"They were just too fast for us," Lancetta said.
Hammonton did move the ball behind the inside running of fullback David Williams (17 carries for 93 yards). But the Vikings got stingy once the Blue Devils crossed the 50-yard line. Hammonton had a 15-play drive end at the Atlantic City 38 in the first half and a 13-play drive end at the Vikings' 18 in the third quarter. Atlantic City defensive lineman Ahmad Martin made two tackles for losses and helped slow Hammonton's inside runs.
Atlantic City controlled most of the second half behind the running of McBryde (14 carries for 68 yards) and Domaneek Brown-Hurd (13 carries for 56 yards).
That's what makes Atlantic City so tough on opposing defenses. Teams just can't focus on Reynolds. The Vikings line up with talented skill-position players all over the field.
"It's great," Reynolds said. "Everything doesn't fall on you. We have playmakers all over. That's what we call them - playmakers."
Those playmakers also included McBryde, who threw for 210 yards and Cottman, who caught four passes for 18 yards. Tyshiek Wright caught a pass for 23 yards. McBryde also helped clinched the victory with an interception late in the fourth quarter.
"We ask all our playmakers to step up when called on," Kelly said, "and on Friday nights in Atlantic City we always need somebody to step up and they did it tonight."
Contact Michael McGarry:
Hammonton 0 7 0 0-7
Atlantic City 0 13 0 6-19
AC-Cottman 9 pass from McBryde (McBryde kick)
HAM-Rosu 70 pass from Mortellite (Salmon kick)
AC-Reynolds 18 pass from McBryde (kick failed)
AC-Brown-Hurd 1 run (kick failed)
Rushing-Hammonton, Da. Williams 17-93. Atlantic City, Brown-Hurd 13-56, McBryde 14-68.
Passing-Hammonton, Mortellite 1-7-1-70. Atlantic City, McBryde 12-17-1-210.
Receiving-Hammonton, Rosu 1-70. Atlantic City, Reynolds 7-169.
Records-Hammonton 3-2; Atlantic City 3-1