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Columbus Destroyers A sigh of relief but there’s still work to be done

Destroyers receiver Paul Browning pumps up the crowd during the final moments of last week’s game against Atlantic City.
Photo by: Ralph Schudel / Columbus Wired

As time expired on last week’s game between the Atlantic City Blackjacks and Columbus Destroyers a sense of relief could be felt a field level.

Players and staff celebrated the victory. Some individuals openly expressed joy, while others remained more reserved.

Columbus head coach Matthew Sauk couldn’t wipe the smile off his face following his club’s 54-50 victory over the Blackjacks.

Holy cow,” Sauk said collecting his thoughts. “From the front office, to the coaches, to the players, to do what we did in the amount of time that we had to do it. (The win is) just a fricking great feeling.”

Even in times of despair, Sauk always maintained his positivity and praised his team for their effort and commitment improving.

Following the win, he took a victory lap. “I think it just finally shows what type of team we can be,” Sauk said. “We have a good team, it may not show on the record right now but it’s young, it’s hungry, it’s still learning how to win and tonight we did it.” The coach had every right to exude jubilation. His club had come close to notching its first win multiple times throughout the year, only to squander the opportunity by committing a penalty or costly turnover.

“We’ve been in basically every game,” said quarterback Grant Russell. “It just comes to the point where we’ve turned the ball over. That’s been the tale of the tape, the first seven games of the season if we don’t turn the ball over we get a win.”

The Columbus signal caller played about as clean of a game as possible, completing 16-of-27 passes for 217 yards and six touchdowns. He also failed to take a sack and was instrumental in the Destroyers game-winning drive that sealed the victory. A native of Newark, Ohio, and playing his college ball just down the road at Ohio Dominican, the victory was a sweet moment for Russell and his family.

“It’s awesome, it’s really surreal because I used to come to these games when I was younger,” the quarterback reflected. “To be able to be part of the franchise for that first win, it’s awesome. I thank God for it, I thank my family and friends. It’s been a long ride that’s for sure.”

Russell and his teammates will remember the win fondly but remained focused on the rest of the year. “We’ve got to get back to work, we’ve got a lot more football games to win.”

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