Photo courtesy: Press Of Atlantic City
Philadelphia Soul press release,
JACKSONVILLE (May 16, 2015) – The Philadelphia Soul (7-1) battled through injuries, but couldn’t catch up after falling into an early hole in their 55-47 loss to the Jacksonville Sharks (3-5) in front of 9,465 fans at Sea Best Field at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night. The loss was Philadelphia’s first of the season.
“Proud of the guys that had to step up because of the injuries during the game, but it’s no excuse,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We didn’t make enough plays when we needed them. We don’t have time to dwell on things. We will watch the film and get ready for Tampa Bay.”
Tommy Taggart and Shaun Kauleinamoku each missed time in the game, forcing defensive end Bryan Robinson to play fullback most of the game and wide receiver Harvey Binford into action early. Kauleinamoku returned in the second half.
Marco Thomas led the Soul receivers with 11 catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan McDaniel added 11 catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Kauleinamoku had six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Taggart, who didn’t finish the game due to an injury, added nine rushing yards and a 4-yard touchdown reception for the Soul.
Dan Raudabuagh finished the night by completing 29-of-43 passes for 294 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. Jacksonville’s Tommy Grady completed 18-of-35 passes for 187 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Joe Hills led the Shark receivers with nine receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns, while Prechae Rodriguez added five catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
Kent Richardson led the team with 5.5 total tackles and Brandon Freeman had 4.0 total tackles and two pass breakups. Curtis Young had 1.5 total tackles and a sack for the night.
The Soul began the first drive by converting a big 4th down by Taggart and Raudabaugh finished with a 31-yard scoring strike to Thomas to grab the 7-0 lead. The Sharks answered when Grady found Jones on 4th down for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:29 remaining in the first to tie it at 7-7. The Sharks then forced a turnover on downs and added a 27-yard field goal to take a 10-7, ending the scoring in the opening quarter.
The Soul open the second quarter when Raudabaugh found Taggart on a 4-yard, 4th down touchdown to take a 14-10 lead with 9:36 remaining in the half. The Soul defense then forced a turnover on downs to take possession with under seven minutes in the half, but a Taggart fumble gave the ball back to the Sharks. Hills scored from four yards out to give Jacksonville the 17-14 lead with 3:22 remaining in the second quarter. Raudabaugh then found Thomas on a 22-yard scoring strike to bring the Soul a 20-17 after a bad snap on the extra point at the 1:25 mark.
After a failed onsides kick, Grady found tight end, Moqut Ruffins on a 12-yard touchdown pass to take a 24-20 lead into the half.
Jacksonville opened the second-half scoring when Grady connected on a swing-pass to Prechae Rodriguez for an 11-yard touchdown to make it a 31-20 Shark advantage. Raudabaugh hit Kauleinamoku on a spectacular 28-yard touchdown, but Tommy Frevert missed the extra point to make the score 31-26 in favor of Jacksonville with 7:36 left in the third. Derrick Ross then scored from six yards out to push the Jacksonville lead to 38-26 with 5:07 left in the third. Raudabaugh again found Thomas on a 3-yard score in the back of the endzone to finish the third quarter with the Sharks leading, 38-33.
Grady went back to work and found Hills on a 32-yard bomb down the right sideline to push the Jacksonville lead to 45-33 with 12:18 left in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia kept pace when Raudabaugh found McDaniel on a 4-yard touchdown while crashing into the back wall, narrowing the Jacksonville lead to 45-40 with 6:23 left. On the following possession, Grady hit Rodriguez on a 28-yard score to push it back to a 12-point lead, 52-40 with 2:50 left. Kauleinamoku hauled in a 25-yard scoring strike at the one-minute mark to bring it back to a Sharks’ 52-47 lead.
After a failed onsides kick, the Soul defense stepped up and forced Rauch to kick a 40-yard field goal to make it 55-47 with :31 seconds remaining. The Soul were unable to convert on 4th down on the final drive and the Sharks were able to run out the clock.
Next week, the Soul stay in Florida to face the Tampa Bay Storm at 7:30 p.m. at the Amalie Arena on Saturday, May 23. The game can be streamed on ESPN3.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Jacksonville’s Joe Hills
Riddell Defensive Player: Jacksonville’s Greg Reid
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Jacksonville’s LaRoche Jackson
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: Jacksonville’s Joe Hills’ 32-yard sideline touchdown
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Julian Rauch’s 40-yard field goal with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter