By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Philadelphia – Keith Stokes was returning close to home.
Stokes was born in Toms River, New Jersey. That’s about a 2-hour drive from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It was the first time that Stokes got to play close to home since his high school days.
“It’s always nice to play close to home,” said Stokes. “I haven’t played at home since I was 15 or 16 years old.”
Stokes was signed by the Philadelphia Soul this off-season. He was placed on injured reserve out of training camp due to his hand.
But since he has returned, he has become a go-to guy for Soul quarterbacks Ryan Vena and Justin Allgood. That was the same last night at the Wells Fargo Center, yet the Soul lost to the Jacksonville Sharks, 58-42.
This is the third week in a row that Stokes has played. Stokes has taken the spot that Larry Brackins previously had, as Brackins has been pushed down in the depth chart.
“Stokes and Brackins play the same position,” said Philadelphia Soul head coach Mike Hohensee. “Stokes has been playing great! I don’t know how healthy (Syvelle) Newton was in the end, so we’ll see what guys we’ll plug in next week.”
Stokes was been lighting it up since returning to the field. He was able to keep his touchdown streak going.
Stokes caught a 28-yard touchdown from Soul quarterback Ryan Vena to open the scoring a few minutes into the game. He had 3 catches for 59 yards in the game.
“I have been doing what has been needed,” said Stokes. “They brought me here to make plays. I want to get these guys some wins.”
Stokes would also show off his kick return duties in the fourth quarter. At 8:28 in the fourth, he received the ball off of a kick from New Jersey native and Sharks kicker Marco Capozzoli. Stokes went 58-yards past numerous Sharks defenders into the end zone.
“He’s a tremendous football player,” said Soul Coach Hohensee. “It was just a matter of time before he did that. That won’t be the last one. He’s a great kick returner and a good receiver.”
Stokes is coming off of Playmaker of the Week honors. He had 11 catches for a 159 yards and three touchdowns against the Iowa Barnstormers last week.
In his first game back after injury, he caught 8 receptions for 81 yards at the San Jose SaberCats. He also had three touchdowns in that game, as well.
“I got the opportunity to play,” said Stokes. “I was given the chance and I’m going to make the best of it.”
Stokes had better statistics in his first two games than many Soul wide receivers, including current Soul wide receivers Larry Brackins and Donovan Morgan. They are better than former Soul wide receivers Chris Jackson, Charles Pauley, Sean Scott, and Steve Smith, as well.
- Brackins had 5 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in 2007
- Jackson had 9 catches for a 145 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2000
- Morgan had 13 catches for a 170 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2008
- Pauley had 3 catches for 46 yards in 2004
- Scott had 8 catches for a 122 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2004
- Smith had 10 catches for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2001-2002
Stokes was out of football for two years, before signing with the Soul. He previously played for the Elancourt Templiers, a French team in 2009. His very first play with the Templiers was a touchdown.
He first got a taste of the Indoor Football game with the Manchester Wolves in 2008. He also spent some of the 2008 year with the Edmonton Eskimos and the Toronto Argonauts, where he was a member of the practice squad only.
Prior to that, he spent the 2007 season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the 2006 season with the Toronto Argonauts. He was also a member of the Blue Bombers in 2004 and 2005.
He spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Montreal Allouettes.