By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Soul edged out the Baltimore Brigade in the close game. Throughout the game both teams traded blows, scoring tit-for-tat. The Brigade carried the advantage most of the game staying out ahead of the Soul for what seemed like the entire game.
The game was decided in the last minute with the Brigade failing to convert a two-point conversion. The Soul won 49=48 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Throughout the game, the Brigade seemed to be handling the Soul. On offense, wide receivers Brandon Thompkins and Quentin Sims seemed to be everywhere for the Brigade and quarterback Randy Hippeard seemed to find them wherever they were.
Together, Thompkins and Sims racked up 198 receiving yards on 20 receptions and both had a touchdown a piece. Fellow receiver Demetres Stephens also contributed 57 yards on four receptions and two touchdowns. Hippeard threw for 255 yards and five touchdowns. Thompkins and Sims caught 77 percent of the total passing offense for the Brigade.
Not to be out done, receivers Darius “Money” Reynolds and Aaron Wascha both played hard for the Soul. Reynolds continued to show why he is regarded as one of the best receivers in Arena Football catching eight passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Wascha also had a big day through the air catching 10 passes for 108 yards and four touchdowns. Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh finished with 255 yards through the air with seven touchdowns and an interception.
“Dan stepped in like he never missed a step,” commented Wascha after the game. “I was there and just caught the ball. I was just doing my job. “
The game also marked Raudabaugh’s first game back after a shoulder injury that was sustained in May. He spoke about the team and their success why he was away.
“Football is the ultimate team,” Raudabaugh said. “Credit the team to put us in a position to be successful when I was away. That’s what it’s about, sticking together through adversity and keeping it rolling.”
In the face of adversity the Soul did keep it rolling against the Brigade, staying competitive the entire night.
The Soul scored first to start the game, getting out to a quick 7-0 score, but the Brigade quickly answered the score. The Soul turned the ball over in the ensuing drive and both teams traded blows for the rest of the game. The Soul would score and the Brigade would answer to stay on top.
The game’s pivotal turning point was towards the end of the fourth quarter. The Bridage were driving down the field but feel apart due to penalties. On a 4th and 20, Hippeard escaped the pocket and heaved a rainbow down the field and Thompkins dove for the ball. Soul defenders swarmed to the ball and managed to knock the ball out of Thompkins reach before his hands.
The Soul scored on the ensuing drive with a dart from Raudabaugh to Wascha. Wascha was completely unguarded and hopped into the endzone to the give the Soul the lead. The Brigade would score to make the game interesting in the final minute, but failed to score the two-point conversion, giving the Soul the lead.