Soul Drop Playoff Series Opener
Sunday July 15, 2018
Slow start plagues Soul
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia Soul fell to the Baltimore Brigade at the Wells Fargo Center by the score of 45-57 in front of 8,164 fans. Uncharacteristic mistakes plagued the Soul from the opening kickoff as they’ve put themselves in a hole early before closing the point differential gap heading into Game 2 of the Series on Friday night in Baltimore.
The Brigade got the scoring started when QB Randy Hippeard found WR Brandon Collins deep in the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. On the ensuing possession, the Soul’s first of the game, WR Aaron Wascha excited the home crowd with a dazzling display of agility on a 22-yard catch & run, but the drive ultimately stalled as the Soul turned the ball over on downs, and the first quarter came to a close with Baltimore ahead 7-0.
The Brigade found the end zone to start the second quarter as Hippeard took a quarterback sneak in from the 1-yard line, giving Baltimore a 13-0 lead after the missed extra point. The next sequence of events would prove to be crucial. Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh thought he had WR Darius “Money” Reynolds open for the first Soul score of the game, but Brigade DB Joe Powell stepped in front of the pass at his own 1-yard line, giving the ball back to the Brigade. Hippeard quickly found WR Demetres Stephens from 34-yards out and then on the ensuing kickoff, the ball careened off the crossbar, putting it up for grabs. Stephens once again found himself in the right place at the right time, recovering the loose ball and giving Baltimore the possession. Hippeard quickly connected with WR Brandon Thompkins, giving the Brigade a 27-0 lead. Before the end of the half, the Soul badly needed a score and their veteran leader Raudabaugh found the end zone, connecting with Darius Prince for a touchdown. The half came to a close with the score Baltimore 27, Philadelphia 7.
The Soul came out strong to begin the second half with Raudabaugh completing a 29-yard pass to Reynolds and then finding Shaun “SK” Kauleinamoku wide open for a touchdown. A missed extra point of their own left the score at 27-13. On Baltimore’s first possession of the half, Soul DB Torez Jones intercepted Hippeard’s pass, which deflected off the wall, and returned it for another Soul touchdown, bringing the score to Soul 19, Brigade 27. However, the Brigade was able to answer the Soul’s momentum as WR Brandon Thompkins returned the ensuing kickoff for a Brigade score, giving them a 34-19 lead. The Brigade defense carried that momentum swing onto the field with them as they forced a turnover on downs by the Soul to end the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hippeard found Brandon Thompkins on a 33-yard touchdown pass to give the Brigade a 41-19 advantage with 14:53 remaining in the game. As the Soul regained possession, Raudabaugh’s pass was picked off by DB Josh Victorian, who returned it to the Soul 17-yard line. Three plays later, Hippeard found WR Brandon Collins for another Brigade touchdown, growing the lead to 48-19 after the Mark Lewis extra point. After a personal foul on the Brigade’s Josh Victorian put the ball at the Brigade 11-yard line, Raudabaugh connected with Darius Prince for a Soul touchdown and a score of Baltimore 48, Philadelphia 25. An unsuccessful onside kick attempt by the Soul gave the Brigade the ball at the Soul 10-yard line and two plays later, Hippeard found WR Quentin Sims for a touchdown, pushing the lead back to 30 points with 5:45 left in the game.
With the new playoff format in mind, which could allow the Soul to still advance to ArenaBowl XXXI despite a loss, the team kept fighting for opportunities and points. After a Darius Prince touchdown catch, the attempted two-point conversion not only failed, but was returned by the Brigade, making the score 57-31, a 26-point difference. On the ensuing kickoff, Kicker Adrian Trevino ‘s onside kick was recovered by the Soul’s Calvin Fance, giving the team some momentum as they tried to cut into the deficit and give themselves the best position possible heading into Game 2.
Raudabaugh was able to find Prince for another touchdown, and then connect with WR Aaron Wascha for the two-point conversion, bringing the Soul to within 18 points. Trevino then delivered once again with an onside kick recovery, this time coming up with the ball himself. The Soul offense seized this opportunity, understanding that every point matters, and capped off the drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by FB Jeramie Richardson. While the two-point conversion attempt would fail here, the Soul had managed to close the gap to 12 points, with a final score of 57-45.
Coming Up Next: The Soul head to Baltimore on Friday, July 20th, for Game 2 of the series. In order to advance, the Soul will need to defeat the Brigade by 13 points or more. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network and 97.5 The Fanatic.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL
The back-to-back World Champion Philadelphia Soul are now playing in their 13th season in the Arena Football League. In the previous 12 seasons, the Soul have won four Division Championships, four Conference Championships and three World Championships. Since the inaugural season in 2004, the Soul are the winningest professional sports team in Philadelphia. Season memberships and Group tickets for the Soul’s 2018 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Soul sales department at (215) 253-4900 ext. 3, or request contact from a Soul representative by filling out the form on www.philadelphiasoul.com. Additionally, fans and sponsors can follow the Soul on Facebook (Philadelphia Soul), Twitter (@soulfootball) and Instagram (@philadelphia_soul) for up to date news and exclusive content.