BALTIMORE– After overcoming a series of hurdles all season, including an injury to their starting quarterback, the Philadelphia Soul were unable to overcome a 12-point deficit in the aggregate scoring. Having lost the first leg of the playoff series by a score of 57 to 45, the Soul would have needed to win by 13 or more points on the road, in a building that they had not won in all season. That trend would continue tonight.
In the first quarter, both teams traded touchdowns. A missed extra point by Philadelphia kicker Adrian Trevino was the only difference in score. At the half, another two Baltimore scores and another Soul score made it 28 to 19. Philadelphia had an opportunity for a touchdown late in the second quarter, but the Brigade defense held firm and kept them out of the end zone.
Baltimore continued to pile on touchdowns in the second half en route to a 53 to 41 victory. After both legs of the home and home playoff series, the final aggregate score was 109 to 86 in favor of the Brigade. Baltimore will go on to ArenaBowl XXXI face the winner of tomorrow night’s game between Albany and Washington. After a close overtime thriller in the first game, Albany holds a one-point aggregate lead over Washington.
For head coach Clint Dolezel, while the ending to the season is tough, he said still has a lot of respect for the way his team played.
“I love my guys,” Dolezel said. They battled to the end [and] they did it all year long. We won some games that were very tough, overcame a lot of injuries, got to see a lot of new faces on our team. The future is bright for a lot of these guys so we’ll reload and get back after it next year.”
Dolezel also said that the Soul would be looking for bigger contributions next season from rookie wide receivers Aaron Wascha and Darius Prince.
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh said that for him, the biggest takeaway heading into the offseason would be the lessons learned from these past two games.
“I’m going to look back at the last two games of the series,” Raudabaugh said. “We just didn’t play well enough to win. Hats off to Baltimore, they had a wonderful year.”
Raudabaugh also complimented the Brigade coaching staff and their ability to work in new players throughout the season.
Darius Reynolds has been a mainstay with the Soul during their championship run. Assigned to the Soul in the 2016 season, the former Iowa Barnstormers and San Jose SaberCats receiver had been present for both Philadelphia ArenaBowl wins.
His takeaway from this season was that depth will be key to reloading next year for another run at the ArenaBowl.
“I think first and foremost the next man has got to be ready at any position,” Reynolds said. “SK went down [and] Aaron stepped in. He played great, so we gotta get more guys like that who know that at any moment your number could be called. So I think a little more depth would help us.”
Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh was 25 of 37 in the game, with six touchdowns and 1 interception…His Baltimore Counterpart Randy Hippeard was 16 of 24 with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions…Soul Wide Receiver Darius Prince led the way in receiving, with seven catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns…Both teams accrued eight penalties in the game, with the Soul being tagged for 50 yards, and the Brigade losing 71 yards…Philadelphia was six of seven on third down conversions, while Baltimore was three of six. Neither team had a fourth down situation in the game…Soul Wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku extended his streak of postseason games with a touchdown reception to ten with one score in tonight’s contest…