By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Philadelphia, PA — Kyle Chilton ruined the Philadelphia Soul home opener.
The Soul was playing their first home game after winning the 2008 ArenaBowl Championship. The banner was unveiled prior to the game. But the Tampa Bay Storm defeated the Soul, 51-48, last night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Soul now has lost four straight games. They are now 1-4 in the American Conference-East Division. The Milwaukee Mustangs and the Soul are currently tied with a 1-4 mark.
The Soul has not won a game since winning the opening week against the Pittsburgh Power. The Power are currently 2-2.
The Storm improved to 2-3 on the season. They are currently 4th in the American Conference-South Division. Only the New Orleans VooDoo has a worse record in the South Division than the Storm. The VooDoo are currently winless with an 0-4 mark.
“This is the first step in the right direction,” said Edwards. “We want to build on this win and get some more wins to possibly start a win streak.”
The Storm won the game on a game-winning field goal. After missing several kicks earlier in the game, Kyle Chilton had all the focus on him.
Soul head coach Mike Hohensee called a time out to try to freeze Chilton. But that time out did not affect the rookie kicker. Chilton kicked the ball through the goal posts with 0:00, giving the Storm a 51-48 win.
“He had a chance to redeem his self,” said Storm head coach Dave Ewart. “We have confidence in Chilton. He’s a good kicker. He’s young and he gets rattled, but he stepped up. He made a big kick (last night).”
The Soul tied the game at 48-48 with 46 seconds left. Vena connected with Newton for a 33-yard touchdown to put the Soul back into the game.
The Storm took a 7-point lead at 48-41 when Gregory and Edwards connected for the fourth time in the game. Edwards caught a 4-yard touchdown at 2:43 to give the Storm the lead.
“During the game, I don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” said Edwards. “We said all week that we didn’t want to pay attention to the score, but play all 60 minutes, as a team effort.”
Gregory and Edwards were not done in the fourth quarter. They also connected at 8:35 on another 4-yard touchdown to tie the game at 41-41 apiece.
Eric Ortiz opened the fourth quarter with the first rushing touchdown by a non-quarterback. Ortiz was called on for a one-yard rush.
Ortiz receives the ball from Gregory and uses his full-back body to get the ball past the goal line. The Storm scores to make it 41-34.
Right before the Ortiz touchdown, there was an official review of the previous play. Gregory connected with Edwards on a long catch that some thought was a touchdown and others thought he was down at the one-yard line.
“I thought Edwards’ knee was down, so it was the correct call,” said Ewart. “They refs made the right call.”
Edwards was ruled down by the officials and Ortiz was called on to score. The Storm went for a two-point conversation after the Ortiz rush and it was converted to get within 7-points.
After halftime, the Soul came out wanting it more. They scored the only points in the third quarter.
Vena connected with Donovan Morgan on an unbelievable catch. Morgan made a one-handed grab with the ball going one-way and his body directed in the other direction, before walking into the end zone.
The 11-yard touchdown increased the Soul lead to 41-26. Shortly after the start of the third quarter, Vena connected with Newton on a 16-yard touchdown reception. The catch increased the lead to 35-26.
The Storm was able to cut the Soul lead to two points going into the half time break. Gregory was able to hit Amarri Jackson for a 4-yard touchdown catch with 41 seconds left to make it 28-26.
Tanner Varner has been able to make big-defensive plays for the Soul. But this time around, he made a big play on his kick off duties.
Varner caught the ball off of a Chilton kick and than ran past a Storm defender into the end zone. Varner’s 12-yard kick off return for a touchdown increased the Soul lead 28-20.
“Tanner made a big play on the kick return,” said Edwards. “He’s a good player for them.”
With one minute left in the half, Gregory hit Huey Whittaker for a touchdown. Whittaker’s 9-yard touchdown reception cut the Soul lead to one-point at 21-20.
The touchdown was set up after a live ball off the net. After a Kyle Chilton missed field goal, the Soul did not down the play, so the Storm got the ball right back. Then, the Storm scored the touchdown.
Vena scored his second rushing touchdown of the game near the start of the second quarter. He scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown to give the Soul a 21-13 lead.
Gregory connected with Edwards at 2:18 on a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. Vena connected with Morgan on a 37-yard touchdown at 4:47 to give the Soul a 14-7 lead.
“Grant and I have been building our chemistry,” said Edwards of the two first quarter touchdowns. “We had a great week of practice coming off of a bye and we wanted to prove on national television (NFL Network) that we are a good team.”
At 5:58, Gregory hit Edwards on a 3-yard touchdown to tie the game again at 7-7. Vena scored a 9-yard rushing touchdown at 10:16 to give the Soul a 7-0 lead.