Soul defeat Predators to advance, 59-55
Sunday August 4, 2013
Soul Defense Steps Up in Shoot-Out Against Orlando
PHILADELPHIA (August 3, 2013) - The 2013 East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul (13-6) advanced to the American Conference Championship for the second consecutive season after beating the Orlando Predators (7-12), 59-55, in front of 9,641 fans at -the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. The game went back-and-forth, but the Soul defense came up with two big stops in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
"This was a great bounce-back game," said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "It wasn't easy, but fortunately our defense made huge stops for us. Orlando played great football tonight. We kept trying to stop the ball, but Garcia played some great ball tonight himself. Our goal was to win this game, and that's just what we did. I'm proud of these guys."
NET10 Wireless MVP of the Game Andrae Thurman led all Philadelphia receivers with 12 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Emery Sammons had six catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns, while Tiger Jones added five catches for 57 yards.
Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh earned Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game as he led the offense, throwing 24-of-34 for 325 yards and six touchdowns. Raudabaugh also became the franchise's leading touchdown passer in the postseason.
On the ground, Derrick Ross rushed for 17 yards and two touchdowns.
LaRico Stevenson led the defense with and 6.5 total tackles, while Riddell Defensive Player of the Game Tyron Hurst earned AFL Highlight of the Night, after he forced a fumble and recovered the ball on Aaron Garcia to give the ball back to Philadelphia in the closing seconds.
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game Aaron Garcia connected on 18-of-28 passes for 296 yards along with six touchdowns. T.T. Toliver led the Blaze receivers with five catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Tanner Varner led the defense with nine tackles and an interception.
Both teams scored on the first play of their first possession to open the game, but Orlando took control in the beginning. Orlando's touchdowns consisted of Prechae Rodriguez and T.T. Toliver receptions and a run by Mykel Benson. Philadelphia earned its two touchdowns on catches by Emery Sammons and Andrae Thurman. The quarter ended with Orlando leading, 21-14.
Both teams exchanged two touchdowns in the second quarter. Derrick Ross punched in two touchdowns for the Soul, while Matt Spanos caught a touchdown and Benson knocked his second touchdown for the Predators. After a last-second field goal, the first half ended with the Soul trailing, 34-31.
After battling back-and-forth, the Soul outscored Orlando and found themselves up, 52-48, at the end of the third quarter. The Soul touchdowns came from Sammons' second score, Thurman second score, and a Larry Brackins catch, which was the Cutters Catch of the Game. Orlando managed to score on a Jarvis Williams catch and Toliver scoring his second touchdown of the night.
The fourth quarter was a nail-biter that went down to the final seconds. On a critical fourth-and-one with 2:27 left, the Soul defense stopped the Orlando offense. However, the Predators would force a turnover on downs themselves, and have the ball with :37 left. On first-and-goal, Garcia fumbled on a strip by Tyron Hurst and he recovered the ball to seal the win for the Soul, 59-55.
The Philadelphia Soul will visit the Jacksonville Sharks next week for the American Conference Championship on Aug. 10.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh
Riddell Defensive Player: Philadelphia DL Tyron Hurst
NET10 Wireless MVP: Philadelphia WR Andrae Thurman
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Orlando QB Aaron Garcia
Cutter's Catch of the Game: Philadelphia WR Larry Brackins fourth quarter touchdown.
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Philadelphia's Tyron Hurst strip on Garcia in closing seconds.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL
The Philadelphia Soul are presented by Parx Casino. They capped their seventh Arena Football League season by capturing the 2012 American Conference championship. The Soul will travel to face the Jacksonville Sharks on Aug. 10 in the American Conference Championship. For 2013 playoff tickets, contact the Soul sales department at (215) 253-4900 ext. 3, or request contact from a representative by filling out the form on www.philadelphiasoul.com. Follow the Soul on Facebook at facebook.com/soul and Twitter at twitter.com/soulfootball.