Sunday, August 11, 2013

Soul slay Sharks, earn second straight Arena Bowl berth

JACKSONVILLE  – Redemption is on the docket for the Philadelphia Soul in ArenaBowl XXVI.

The Soul (14-6) earned an ArenaBowl rematch with the Arizona Rattlers by jumping to a 40-21 halftime lead and holding off the Jacksonville Sharks (13-7) from there to win their second consecutive American Conference championship.

“I am very proud of this entire team,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel.  “They came to play in all phases of the game and we are proud to bring back-to-back American Conference Championships back to Philadelphia.”

Dan Raudabaugh finished his night by connecting on 18-of-27 passes for 220 yards and eight touchdowns with two interceptions.

Ryan McDaniel led all Soul receivers with seven receptions for 88 yards and two receiving touchdowns, while Tiger Jones had six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns.  Larry Brackins added two receptions for 18 yards and two touchdowns.  Russell Athletic Offensive Player and J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker of the Game, Derrick Ross, finished with 54 rushing yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns and added two receiving touchdowns.

Defensively, Joe Goosby tallied 9.0 total tackles, while Rayshaun Kizer recorded 7.5 total tackles and an interception.  James Romain added 7.0 total tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown, while LaRico Stevenson had finished with 5.5 total tackles and four pass breakups.

Jacksonville was led by back up QB Bernard Morris, who finished 31-of-49 for 416 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.  Markee White led the Shark receivers with 14 receptions for 188 yards, while former member of the Soul Jeff Hughley had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

The Soul capitalized on interceptions by Kizer and Romain in jumping out to a 20-7 first quarter lead.  Raudabaugh found Ross on a 22-yard catch and run for a score, while Romain’s interception was returned for a touchdown and Brackins hauled in a 2-yard touchdown to round out the Soul scoring.

Philadelphia outscored the Sharks 20-14 in the second quarter with the help of two Ross touchdowns – one receiving and one rushing – and a Tiger Jones receiving touchdown.  The Soul took a 40-21 halftime lead into the locker room.

The Soul continued to maintain the lead with scores by McDaniel and a second by Brackins for a total of 14 points and finished out the quarter with 54-40 lead.  The defense also came up with another stop on downs with big plays by Brandon Perkins and Rayshaun Kizer.

In the fourth quarter, the Soul outscored the Sharks 21-19 on scores by Ross, Jones and McDaniel.  McDaniel’s touchdown sealed the victory and gave Philadelphia a 75-59 victory and a second straight American Conference title.

Arena Bowl XXVI will take place next Saturday in Orlando, FL.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia’s Derrick Ross

Riddell Defensive Player: Jacksonville’s Jerry Turner

J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker:  Philadelphia’s Derrick Ross

Cutter’s Catch of the Game: Jacksonville’s Micheaux Robinson’s interception.

Spalding Highlight of the Game: Philadelphia’s Andrae Thurman’s onsides kick recovery.

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