FOR SOUL PLAYING IN ANOTHER ARENABOWL, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Baltimore Brigade, with the final score of 69-54 in front of 9,287 fans at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. With this victory, the Soul will host ArenaBowl XXX at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, August 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at www.philadelphiasoul.com/arenabowl or at the Wells Fargo Center Box Office.
The Soul will face the Tampa Bay Storm who knocked off Cleveland in the other semi-final. Riding a 17-home game win streak, the Soul will be playing for their third championship since joining the league in 2004 and defending their 2016 championship title. Details regarding events surrounding ArenaBowl XXX will be announced early next week.
“I’m proud of all this team has accomplished this season,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We have worked very hard to get to this point and I’m excited to defend the title once again.”
Soul WR Darius Reynolds led the receivers with nine receptions for 171 yards and six touchdowns. WR Darius Prince added four receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown, while WR Shaun Kauleinamoku tallied eight receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. Baltimore WR Brandon Thompkins recorded eight receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown.
Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh completed 23-of-35 passes for 324 yards and nine touchdowns. Baltimore QB Shane Boyd completed 21-of-33 passes for 324 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Brigade won the coin toss and elected to kick off. The Soul started off quickly with a 24-yard pass from Raudabaugh to Reynolds for the first touchdown of the night. The Brigade responded as Boyd connected with Reggie Gray for a 9-yard touchdown but the extra point was no good. With 10:09 to play in first quarter, the Soul led 7-6. Kauleinamoku caught his first touchdown of the night on a 4-yard pass from Raudabaugh and the Soul extended the lead 13-6. Boyd found Gray once again for a 12-yard touchdown. The PAT was good and at the first quarter came to a close with the score tied, 13-13.
Reynolds started off the second quarter with a 33-yard touchdown catch from Raudabaugh. Trevino’s kick was good and with the Soul stretched their lead 20-13. The Brigade responded when Boyd found Brandon Collins for a 37-yard touchdown. With 10:32 remaining in the first half, the score was again tied 20-20. Prince caught his first touchdown for the Soul on a 45-yard pass from Raudabaugh and the Soul regained the lead 27-20. Baltimore was unable to complete the first down, and the Soul took possession with 4:04 to play in the first half. Raudabaugh found TE Michael Simons for a 5-yard touchdown and with the made extra point the Soul kept their lead 34-20. Boyd’s pass was intercepted by Soul DB James Romain and the Soul gained possession to end the first half.
The Brigade kicked off the second half with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Collins. The kick was no good and with 12:22 to play in the third quarter, the Soul remained in the lead 34-26. Raudabaugh’s pass was blocked and recovered by Brigade DB Varmah Sonie and the team capitalized with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Boyd. With just under 10 minutes to play in the quarter, the Brigade closed the gap 34-33. Reynolds caught his third touchdown of the night on a 36-yard pass from Raudabaugh and with the extra point, the Soul kept their lead 41-33. Baltimore quickly responded with a 47-yard touchdown by Gray and with 6:59 to play in the third, the Soul remained in the lead 41-40. To close out the third quarter, Raudabaugh connected with Reynolds again for a 10-yard touchdown and the Soul led 48-40.
To begin the final quarter of play, Boyd passed to WR Brandon Thompkins for his first touchdown of the night. With 13:33 remaining in the game, the Soul held onto their lead 48-47. Benson ran in his first touchdown of the night on a 3-yard rush. With 7:01 to play, the Soul stretched the lead 55-47. The Brigade were unable to complete the first down and the Soul gained possession with 4:10 to play in the game. Raudabaugh found Reynolds for his XX touchdown of the night. The PAT was good and with less than a minute to go, the Soul remained in the lead 62-47. The Brigade continued the fight with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Gray. Extra point was good and with 27 seconds to play, the score was 62-54. The Soul finalized the game when Raudabaugh found Reynolds for his sixth touchdown of the night. With the made extra point, the Soul defeated the Baltimore Brigade 69-54.
Dwayne Hollis, who is up for Arena Football League Defensive back of the Year, said he too was glad the game is in Philadelphia.
“It’ll be a change,” Hollis said. “I’ve been to two neutral sites as a player in the ArenaBowl, and we went out to Arizona last year, it’ll be great to win one at home and celebrate with our fans here at home.”
Sources have revealed the Arena Football League is expanding with teams in Albany, NY and Newark, NJ.
Hollis said he heard there may be new teams coming in and obviously was happy to see the league’s gamble with restrictions on who can own an AFL franchise appears to be paying off.
“It’s great for Arena Football,” Hollis said. “Once you see Arena Football one time, you’re get hooked to it. I know the league has gone through its growing pains, going back to five teams (this year). I just want to give kudos to all the guys who stuck around to play in this five-team league. It’s going to pay off.”
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii
Offensive Player of the Game: Philadelphia WR Darius Reynolds
Defensive Player of the Game: Philadelphia DB James Romain
MVP of the Game: Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh