Philadelphia Soul Press Release
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia Soul (5-4) defeated the Albany Empire (5-4) at the Times Union Center with a score of 75-74 in front of 9,534 fans in the final 0.4 seconds of the game. This nail-biter put the Soul in a tie with the Empire for second place in the Arena Football League. Soul rookie WR Aaron Wascha totaled seven touchdowns and 208 yards, recording the first 200-yard receiving game since Quentin Sims’ 205 yards against Tampa Bay in April of 2017. Although the Empire maintained a steady lead for most of the game, the Soul fought hard in the fourth quarter to get the win they needed after falling to the Washington Valor at home last week. See Box Score below:
The game began in usual Arena Football fashion as the Empire and Soul exchanged touchdowns early in the first quarter, scored by the top two wide receivers in the league: Empire WR Malachi Jones and Soul WR Darius Prince. However, Albany picked up the pace as WR Collin Taylor recovered a Soul onside kick, leading to a five-yard touchdown by WR Joe Hills, giving Albany a 14-7 lead. In the ensuing Soul drive after receptions by WR Aaron Wascha and Prince, the Soul managed to tie up the score at 14 with another touchdown by Prince to conclude the first quarter.
The high-scoring second quarter began with a rushing touchdown by Jones, giving the Empire another one-touchdown lead. The Soul, who have shown all season long that they do not tolerate large, opposing team leads, tied the score up at 21 with a touchdown by Wascha. Both the Empire and the Soul fiercely put points on the board with touchdowns by Empire WR Hills, two by Soul WR Wascha, Empire WR Carr, and finally Empire WR Jones. After all the scoring, the clock ran out at the end of the first half with a score of Empire 41 Soul 34.
The Soul looked to tie the score to start the second half, however, they were stopped in their tracks by the Empire defense with a turnover on downs. The Empire used this opportunity to lengthen their lead with a touchdown by WR Malachi Jones, making the score Empire 47 Soul 34. The Soul were able to tighten the score on the next drive with a rushing touchdown by FB Jeramie Richardson, allowing an Empire lead of just six points at Empire 47 Soul 41. The Empire took their ensuing drive as an opportunity to gain a larger lead, as QB Tommy Grady found Jones for his fourth touchdown of the game with the Empire leading 54-34. In the next possession, Soul WR Aaron Wascha proved he was unstoppable as he scored his fourth touchdown of the game. The Empire responded in the next play with a 45-yard touchdown by WR Joe Hills, giving the Empire a 61-48 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Soul WR Wascha scored his fifth touchdown of the game in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Then Empire WR Malachi Jones scored his fifth receiving and sixth total touchdown in the next drive, making the score Empire 67 Soul 55. The Wascha-Jones touchdown battle continued as Wascha scored his sixth touchdown, allowing the Soul to catch up with a score of 67-62. However, Empire WR Greg Carr’s catch in the corner on the next drive gave Albany a 12-point lead with a score of 74-62. At this point in the game, the Soul needed to stop the Empire on defense and score.
The final nerve-wracking minute of the game produced a roller coaster of emotions and was the most action-packed minute of the season. After turnovers on downs from each team in the next two drives, Soul’s Wascha recorded his seventh touchdown of the game with 27.8 seconds left. At around the 30-second mark, Soul FB Adrian Ferns recovered an Empire onside kick, setting the Soul up for a golden opportunity to take control of the game. The Soul continued to move the ball down the field in the final seconds, as QB Shane Austin was able to connect with wide receivers Prince and Wascha. Then, at 2nd and goal on the Albany 10-yard line with 0.4 seconds left, Austin found Prince in the end zone to secure a one-point victory for the Soul with a score of 75-74.
Coming up in Week 11, the Soul are on the road to face the Washington Valor at the Capital One Arena on Friday, June 22. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.