PHILADELPHIA – Despite a nail biting second half, Soul WR Darius Reynolds' season high 171 yards and six touchdown performance, gave the city of Philadelphia the ability to host the biggest stage in Arena Football.
"I was just trying to do what I had to do to win," Reynolds said. "[Dan Raudabaugh] kept throwing it to me and coach kept giving me chances, so I knew I had to make plays."
Darius, Iowa State, scored on a 24 yard touchdown pass from QB Dan Raudabaugh on the second play of the opening possession. In the second quarter, Raudabaugh threw a lob to Reynolds who leaped over Baltimore DB Varmah Sonie for a 33 yard touchdown.
"He played a big time game in a big time situation for us," Raudabaugh, who threw for nine touchdowns, 324 yards and one interception, said after the game.
The Soul were up 34-20 at the half.
Baltimore opened up the second half with a 14 yard touchdown from QB Shane Boyd to WR Brandon Collins. On the next possession, Varmah Sonie picked off Raudabaugh at the Soul's four yard line. The Brigade would eventually score and narrow the gap to 1 (missed extra point).
Baltimore never tied or took the lead in the second half.
"We busted three zones and [Baltimore] got some easy touchdowns," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said on his defensive struggles in the second half. "It's stuff we'll clean up but I'm not too overly concerned. We made plays when we needed to."
Brigade QB Shane Boyd ended his 2017 season on a positive note after throwing for seven touchdowns and 324 yards. His main target throughout the night was veteran WR Reggie Gray who hauled in four touchdowns and 101 yards.
Philadelphia will be the host of Arena Bowl 30 on August 26, 2017. The Soul will await their opponent on Monday, when the #2 Tampa Bay Storm face the #3 Cleveland Gladiators.
"I hope this place is rocking," Dolezel said on their home fans being ready for the championship game at the Wells Fargo Center. "Our fans are great and we hope to see the city of Philadelphia witness the great brand of football we have."
STATS VIA AFL DIGITAL: