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Taggart Runs Over VooDoo

Sunday August 2, 2015

 PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Soul (14-3) extended their winning streak at the Wells Fargo Center to 16 games by defeating the New Orleans VooDoo (3-13-1) 61-28 on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Leading from start to finish it was a collection of former VooDoo players leading the Soul on their opening drive. Following an 18-yard opening kickoff return by LaRico Stevenson Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh would take just two plays to find Tommy Taggart on a swing pass for a 14-yard touchdown reception.

Under immense pass rush during the first quarter Adam Kennedy and the VooDoo offense struggled, but kept fighting. Following a defensive holding call on Stevenson that set up first and goal at the 11, on third down Kennedy would escape pressure before being hit and find a diving Roger Jackson for the VooDoo's first score of the evening, cutting the Soul lead to 14-7 with 13:11 to play in the second quarter.

New Orleans' defense would force the Soul into a 4th and 3 near midfield, but Raudabaugh would hit Marco Thomas on a quick hitter gaining just enough for the first down. Controversy would soon follow, after an apparently end-around touchdown rush by Ryan McDaniel flags would fly. A post play altercation between McDaniel and VooDoo defensive lineman Kwame Jordan would see Jordan ejected, but a flag for holding called back the touchdown.

The reprieve was short lived however as two plays later Taggart would take a toss and fumble in from a yard out for his second touchdown of the first half, and extend the lead to 20-7 with 5:23 to play in the half.

Like they have all season New Orleans continued to battle despite the circumstances, as Kennedy and company responded quickly, finding Roosevelt Falls who stiff-armed a Soul defender before running through two more on his way to a 15-yard touchdown reception, pulling the VooDoo within six points, 20-14 with 2:22 left to play in the first half.

The Soul would pull away for good on the ensuing drive. Opening at their own 20-yard line with 75 seconds left in the half, the combination of Raudabaugh, Thomas and Taggart would lead the Soul 30 yards, in six plays capped by Taggart's third touchdown following a nice block from Thomas with just eight seconds left to play in the first half extending their lead back to 13.

Kennedy finished his evening 14-of-30 for a season-low (in a full game) 120 yards and four touchdowns with a pair of interceptions. Chris Duvalt led New Orleans receivers with seven catches for 60 yards and a pair of scores, and had a career-best 35-yard kickoff return during the third quarter that set up his second touchdown catch. Defensively the VooDoo were led for the second straight game by defensive back Cortez Stubbs with eight tackles, and an interception off the net late in the fourth quarter.

Normally razor sharp Raudabaugh was held to just 19-of-28 by the VooDoo secondary for just 144 yards, but had five touchdowns on the evening. Taggart finished with 27 yards on 11 carries, with six rushing touchdowns, a new record for a VooDoo opponent in a single game. Thomas led all Soul receivers with four catches for 62 yards and four touchdowns. His final touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter tied the Soul record for touchdown receptions in a season with 36.

The VooDoo close the 2015 season next Saturday when they travel to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena to face the Jacksonville Sharks at 6:00 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3, and can be seen on mobile devices as well via the WatchESPN app.