Photo courtesy of Kyle Bennett/Underground Sports Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philly Defensive Back James Romain came in one interception shy of the all-time franchise record for the Soul. He made sure his first one would count.
Down 20-7 mid-way through the second quarter, Romain pounced on a Randy Hippeard interception, skirting tackles and picking up blocking. He would punctuate his interception by taking it all the way to the house.
Speaking to assembled media after the game, Romain walked through the play.
“That came from film study,” he said. “I got beat twice early in the game, so I know I was being a little bit too aggressive. So, they hit me with a double move…right there on the goal line, they were trying to cross face the whole time.”
Romian added, “I was thinking ‘if they trying to cross face the first time they see me, they might try to throw a little wrinkle in there and do an out route.’ The receiver, he televised his route a little bit too early before the ball was hiked, called a bead on it, and I picked that thing and took it to the crib.”
After his first interception brought the Soul back into the game, his second on put the Soul in front for the first time all game, 34-27. While the Blackjacks would tie several more times, the game ended in a 48-41 Soul victory.
When asked about what it means to cement his place in the franchise record books, Romain said it was exciting for him to pass guys he played with.
“It’s always a blessing when you can set a record,” Romain said. “Being in this organization for seven years, and just coming behind the guys like Reyshaun Kizer and guys like that, and to break a record like that, it means a lot to me.”
“It’s always surreal to be solidified in history. I know the next guy coming up here, my name’s going to be on top of that list, so it feels good,” he added.
Another key performer in the game was Full Back Adrian Ferns. He had a trio of rushing touchdowns, the final one of which was the decisive score. Speaking with Arena Insider, Ferns said it was good for him to know head coach Clint Dolezel puts his trust in him.
“It means a lot,” Ferns said. “Clint has a lot of faith in us otherwise we wouldn’t be here. So that just shows how much faith he has in his running game.”
“I’m nothing without our line though,” Ferns noted. “Had a couple rejections, [but] we came back, had adversity and went over it. So, we good.”
Next up on the schedule is Baltimore. The Brigade eliminated the Soul in the semi-final round last year en route to ArenaBowl XXXI.
Despite facing a Baltimore squad with several key departures and new additions, Romain and the Soul have not had their feelings change about the Baltimore squad.
Speaking about his personal feelings towards the Brigade, Romain was direct.
“We don’t like Baltimore,” Romain said. “I ain’t even going to sugarcoat, we don’t like ‘em. We trying to punch them in the mouth. That’s it, that’s all we need to do. Go out there, punch ‘em in the mouth and they’ll lay down. They are who we think they are.”
“Last year was a fluke,” he added. “Play teams six times, you’re supposed to get the upper edge. And they don’t run regular arena stuff over there…We coming to punch y’all in the mouth next week.”
Soul Snippets: Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh was 21 of 31 with 1 interception in the passing game, good for 151 yards and two passing touchdowns…Hippeard, his Blackjacks counterpart, was 18 of 26 in passing, with two picks, good for 178 yards and 5 touchdowns…The Soul were led in rushing by Adrian Ferns, who had eight runs for 33 yards with three touchdowns…Familiar faces showed up on the receiving scoresheet today, as Darius Prince and Darius Reynolds each had a touchdown catch…Along with both of his pick-sixes, Romain had three and a half total tackles, and one tackle for a loss…Next week’s Soul game versus Baltimore will kick off at 7:00 p.m.