Photo courtesy of Kyle Bennett/Underground Sports Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Coming into their week eight matchup against Atlantic City, the Soul were out of breathing room. Sitting at 3-4 and on the playoff bubble, Philadelphia needed a strong performance.
What they got was their most complete win of the season.
The Soul pummeled the Atlantic City Blackjacks by a score of 54-29, which was only as close as it was thanks to 15 fourth-quarter points from Atlantic City.
The pace of play was lifted by the defensive line and secondary, which hounded Blackjacks quarterbacks Randy Hippeard and Warren Smith all night. Thomas Dover and Sean Daniel combined for three total sacks and Torez Jones had an interception.
As Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel noted in his postgame press conference, the defensive effort was a major key in getting back to the win column.
“When the secondary covers like they do and we can get some pressure, that’s usually what we look like,” Dolezel said. “Hopefully we can get more of that.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Soul fullback Adrian Ferns had himself a day. Despite rolling for two scores in last week’s Valor game, he was held in check for most of the week seven matchup, good for just 16 total yards.
This week, Ferns only gained four yards, but they were big ones, as he rumbled into the end zone three times. He was so dominant in the early going that he recording 18 of the Soul’s first 27 points.
“Ferns did well,” Dolezel added. “It just so happened we were at the one-yard line a bunch tonight and we’re going to call his number. it’s tough to throw when you get that close.”
For Ferns, even in a great performance, he chose to spread the credit around to his offensive line.
“It’s a team sport,” Ferns said. “My linemen, they blocked their butt off man. Without them, I wouldn’t have three touchdowns. They made those holes huge. I basically walked in there.”
Ferns also talked about what it felt like to break out of a mini slump and get back to his usual running performance. He said that it was good to break out, but all credit went to his team.
“Teams, they prep for you, make little defensive schemes for you,” Ferns added. “It feels good to get back int here, but like I said, them linemen…like I said last time, I owe them some food for sure.”
For Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, he felt that the team’s most complete win of the season came from every player clicking and working together.
“I think we got back on the same page a little bit,” Raudabaugh said. “I was talking to the guys all week about ‘let’s do things where we’re in control of the pace of the game, we’re dictating what’s happening’ and you do that by staying out of third and fourth-and-longs.
“It’s about being on the same page and being confident. We looked confident, we felt confident. I could feel it every drive. We scored every time we had it…and it’s about playing off each other.”
At the end of the day, Raudabaugh said that the team simply needs to start stacking wins like this in order to reach the playoffs.
“It’s about getting better every week and being able to put good ones back to back to back,” Raudabaugh added. “Got a challenge coming up, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Next week, the Soul go on the road to face the Columbus Destroyers. Game time is Saturday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN 3, the ESPN app, and NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Soul Snippets: Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh was 15 of 18 in the passing game, good for 138 yards and three touchdowns…Four different receivers (Darius Prince, BJ Bunn, Jordan Williams and Lonnie Outlaw) all caught touchdown passes in the game…Raudabaugh and Ferns were both rested for the fourth quarter. Their respective backups, Danny Southwick and Brandon Cottom each got on the scoresheet…The Soul were two of three on third-down conversions…