NEW ORLEANS (April 26, 2015) – On the back of Tommy Taggart’s three first half rushing touchdowns and another strong defensive showing, the Philadelphia Soul (5-0) extended their winning streak to five games by defeating the New Orleans VooDoo, 55-42, in front of 3,906 fans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Sunday night to remain on top of the East Division.
“It’s always good to get a win especially with the schedule change this week,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “We have a few things to clean up as we came out in the second half a little complacent. The defense continues to improve every week and we need to continue that trend across all facets – offense, defense and special teams.”
Ryan McDaniel led the Soul receivers with six catches for 56 yards and one touchdown. Xavier Boyce added four catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Shaun Kauleinamoku had four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Harvey Binford chipped in with a reception for 17 yards, while Adam Smith added a 7-yard touchdown.
J. Lewis Small AFL Playmaker of the Game, Tommy Taggart added a season-high 47 rushing yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Dan Raudabaugh finished the night by completing 18-of-25 passes for 196 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
New Orleans’ Adam Kennedy completed 24-of-42 passes for 271 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Marcus Smith led the VooDoo (1-4) receivers with 11 receptions for 88 yards, while Chris Duvalt added six catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
LaRico Stevenson led the Soul defense with 9.0 total tackles and an interception, while Joe Goosby added 7.0 total tackles. James Romain had three pass breakups and an interception. Bryan Robinson, Curtis Young, Beau Bell and Justin Lawrence added pressure all night and combined for X.X total tackles. Robinson, who earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, added two sacks.
After winning the toss, the Soul deferred and kicked off to the VooDoo to start the game. The Soul got pass deflections from James Romain and Kent Richardson that forced a turnover on downs on the first New Orleans drive. The Soul capitalized when Taggart got the Soul on the board with a 6-yard score at the 10:06 mark in the first and gave Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. Romain picked off a Kennedy pass to stop the next New Orleans drive. Taggart again scored, this time from three yards out to give the Soul a 14-0 lead. The VooDoo capped the first quarter scoring when Kennedy connected with Duvalt on a 10-yard pass play to trail the Soul 14-7 after one quarter of play.
Taggart again found the end zone for the third time in the first half when he powered his way in from five yards out and gave the Soul a 21-7 lead at the 14:55 mark. Stevenson then intercepted a Kennedy pass that led to a Raudabaugh to Boyce 25-yard scoring strike on the next play. That widened the Philadelphia lead to 28-7 with 7:36 left in the first half.
Another strong defensive stop by the Soul defense that included a Robinson sack of Kennedy on fourth down gave the Soul the ball back in VooDoo territory. Raudabaugh then found McDaniel in the back of the endzone to give the Soul a 34-7 lead with 2:44 left in the second. VooDoo capped the first-half scoring when Roosevelt Falls plunged in for a 4-yard touchdown run and narrowed the Soul lead to 34-14.
Raudabaugh opened the second half with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kauleinamoku for a 41-14 lead with 12:25 left in the third quarter. New Orleans answered when Kennedy connected with Carlese Franklin on a 12-yard touchdown to make it 41-21 in favor of the Soul at the end of the third quarter.
Following a Raudabaugh interception, New Orleans opened the fourth quarter when Franklin scored on an end-around from five yards out to narrow the Soul lead to 41-28 with 13:35 left in the game. Soul bounced back as Adam Smith 7-yard touchdown reception capped the following drive to push the lead to 48-28 with 9:19 remaining. Kennedy brought New Orleans down and hooked up with Duvalt for a VooDoo score bring it back to a 48-35 Soul advantage.
The Soul answered when Raudabaugh found Boyce on a 30-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 55-35 with 3:50 left. VooDoo put up the final score of the game when Jeremy Grier scored from 17 yards out to make the final score: Philadelphia 55, New Orleans 42.
Next week, the Soul return home to face the Portland Thunder (2-3) on Saturday, May 2 at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will kick off at 7 p.m.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia’s Dan Raudabaugh
Riddell Defensive Player: Philadelphia’s Bryan Robinson
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Philadelphia’s Tommy Taggart
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: New Orleans’ Chris Duvalt diving touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Spalding Highlight of the Game: New Orleans’ line-drive onside kick recovery.