PHILADELPHIA – Coming off the bye week, the Philadelphia Soul looked to rebound from a 31-21 loss at Baltimore in week four. However, more of the same offensive issues would continue to plague Philly in their matchup against Albany.
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After the Soul went up 7-0 on their first drive on a Darius Prince touchdown reception, Albany immediately answered with a score of their own, as Tommy Grady found Malachi Jones to even the game up. Later in the game, during the second quarter, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was hit by a rush of Albany defenders and came up injured, leaving the game later. He would be replaced by Greg McGhee.
Prince would haul in a second touchdown later in the game. Speaking to reporters afterward, he says that he felt like his individual performance was decent, but had a couple of miscues.
“I felt I got off to a fast start,” Prince said. “I missed a couple plays out there, but overall I felt like I had a pretty good game.”
Prince also said that he felt like the team responded well after making the switch at QB without much of a let down in performance from Raudabaugh to McGhee.
“At the end of the day, it don’t matter who’s in there at quarterback, the offense is going to keep rolling,” Prince said. “Clint [Dolezel] has confidence in Radabaugh and Greg [McGhee], so when he came in the game, no one felt a slide or anything like that. We knew he’s capable of taking us down the field.”
While Prince had a good game, the rest of the team seemed to struggle. After a missed extra point that left the score at 13-7 Soul, the Empire took the lead for the majority of the game, relinquishing it only briefly after Philadelphia went up 23-21.
A particularly disastrous stretch occurred near the start of the third quarter, where Albany scored, and then recovered a Philly fumble, scoring on the ensuing play. That sequence appeared to put the game out of reach, although Philly scored twice to make it close in the fourth quarter.
For head coach Clint Dolezel, the loss tonight echoed much of what he had seen in the week four loss against the Brigade.
“[It was] very similar to Baltimore,” Dolezel said. We missed a lot of plays put in front of us on the offensive side. Defense played well, especially early on. They gave us a chance to put the game away in the first quarter and we didn’t do it. That’s on us on the offensive side.”
Coach Dolezel also noted that QB Dan Raudabaugh had clearly not been at 100 percent, something he said would require extra evaluation before next week’s game.
“Dan’s beat up and he had some throws he missed,” Dolezel said. “I think he was favoring his shoulder and we’re a bit worried about it obviously, so we’ll look a little deeper into that this week and see what the right move is there, but it’s all about the playoffs. We want to win every game but we want to be healthy going into the playoffs too, so we’re going to be smart with it.
Defensive Lineman Jake Metz rejoined the Soul earlier this week. The 27-year-old from Shippensburg University, was on the 2015 and 2016 teams, earning Arena Bowl MVP honors in Arena Bowl XXIX. Metz had been with the Buffalo Bills practice squad for the past season before rejoining the Soul. Metz in his first game back, had one forced fumble, a sack, and 2.5 tackles.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Metz said that he was looking forward to the rest of the season and that he felt comfortable being back with the soul.
It feels great,” Metz said. “This is my hometown and to be able to play in front of my friends and family was a great experience.”
The Soul outgained Albany 18-12 in first downs, but the Empire had two interceptions for 30 yards, while Philadelphia only had 1 interception for no yards. The Soul had 16 penalties for 100 yards while Albany had 6 penalties for 46 yards. Philadelphia won the time of possession battle, holding on to the ball for 34:41, while Albany had the ball for 25:19. Philadelphia falls to 3-2, and will go on the road to face Baltimore next week, while Albany improves to 3-2, and will face Washington at home next week.