PHILADELPHIA – In the opener of their home-and-home playoff series, the Philadelphia Soul were doomed by a cold first half and a costly inability to score in late down-situations.
Coming out of the gate sluggish, the Soul were down 27-7 at the half. After Baltimore scored on their opening possession of the first half, the Soul drove down inside Baltimore’s ten-yard line but failed to convert, turning the ball over on fourth down. On the ensuing Brigade possession, Baltimore’s quarterback Randy Hippeard took it in himself for the QB keeper and the score sat at 13-0. The miscues would be a theme for the rest of the first half.
According to Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, team owner Ron Jaworski read the team the riot act in the locker room after the first half was through.
“We came in at halftime and Jaws tore us a new one,” Raudabaugh said. “He came in there and said ‘we’re not playing Soul ball’ so we gotta step it up.”
The speech seemed to work, as the Soul came out of the locker room on a tear to start the second half. The opening offensive possession ended in a touchdown to Wide Receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku, and on the following defensive series, Torez Jones picked off a tipped pass from Hippeard and ran it in for a pick six. The key plays in that sequence were the two missed extra points, which would have brought the Soul back to within six points, instead of the eight-point hole they found themselves in.
Following the interception, Baltimore took the ensuing kickoff to the house for a 34-19 lead. After that score, Philadelphia would get no closer than 12 points for the remainder of the game. As a result of the new playoff seeding format, the Soul will go into the second leg of the home-and-home series down by a 12 point differential. They will need to win by 13 or more points on Friday to advance to their third consecutive Arena Bowl.
After the game, head coach Clint Dolezel said that he felt his team had not been adequately prepared for tonight’s contest, which left him looking for an answer.
“We didn’t have a lot of juice and that’s just shocking to me,” Dolezel said. ” I thought we’d really be up for this game. And I get it. Not much went right early for us, and it’s easy to go ‘uh-oh’. I thought we had enough veterans for that not to happen.”
Dolezel added that while he and the team are disappointed by the results, they will use the time between tonight’s game and Friday’s contest to get right mentally and prepare to play for the win.
And for Raudabaugh, he feels that the Soul should be ready for the next game.
“It’s going to take a full game of almost perfect football and we can do that,” he said.
The next Soul game will be Friday, July 20 in Baltimore at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and 97.5 The Fan
In the game, Brigade QB Randy Hippeard was 17-of-23 with one interception for a total of 212 yards and six touchdowns…his Soul counterpart, Dan Raudabaugh was 24-of-47 with two interceptions for a total of 332 yards and five touchdowns…Soul Wide Receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku continued his streak of playoff games with a touchdown. He now has a TD reception in 9 straight postseason contests…Darius Prince led the Philadelphia receiving corps with 11 receptions for 128 yards and 4 touchdowns…On this date in 2017, Philadelphia beat the Washington Valor by a score of 68-41 (On this day courtesy of ArenaFan.com)