Brigade escape with win despite late Soul comeback
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Philadelphia, Pa. — The Philadelphia Soul started off the game flat, as they were down 27 points before they even scored. In the second half, they trailed by as much as 30 points.
Yet, after a fierce effort late in the fourth quarter, the Soul lost to the Baltimore Brigade, 57-45, on Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Brigade presently hold a 1-0 lead in their playoff series.
On Friday night, the second game of their series, Philadelphia will have to defeat Baltimore by at least 13 points to advance to the next round of the playoffs. In the next round, they will likely face the Albany Empire, who defeated the Washington Valor by one point on Saturday night unless the Valor can pull the upset and win by a wide margin.
The Soul is attempting to become just the second team in Arena Football League history to win three straight championships. The Detroit Drive won three of their four championships in a row, as they won in 1988, 1989, and 1990.
Brigade quarterback Randy Hippeard went 17 of 23 for 212 passing yards. He also had six touchdowns and an interception. He also had three rushes for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Demetres Stephens led the Brigade with five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Thompkins, who also had a kickoff return for a touchdown, had five receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Quentin Sims had four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Collins had three receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh went 24 of 47 for 332 passing yards. He also had five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Darius Prince led the Soul with 11 receptions for 128 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Aaron Wascha also had five receptions for 81 yards, while Darius Reynolds had four receptions for 63 yards. Shaun Kauleinamoku had four receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.
After trailing by 27 points, Price caught a six-yard touchdown from Raudabaugh to cut the lead to 27-7. Then in the second half, the Soul outscored the Brigade 38-30.
Jeramie Richardson scored with seven seconds left to cut the lead to 57-45. The two-point conversion pass failed.
Raudabaugh hit Prince for a 29-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 57-39. The Soul needed just 12 seconds to score this touchdown, before Raudabaugh’s two-point conversion was converted.
Following another touchdown to Prince, this time a 10-yard touchdown reception with 1:32 left cut the lead to 55-31. Then Raudabaugh was picked off on the two-point conversion by Brigade’s Josh Victorian and returned it for a two-point defensive PAT for the 57-31 lead.
With 5:45 left in the game, Sims caught a nine-yard touchdown reception. The one minute and 30-second drive put the Brigade up by 30 points, as they led 55-25.
Prince also caught an 11-yard touchdown with 8:11 left in the contest. The two minute and 11-second drive cut the Brigade lead to 48-25.
Baltimore scored the first two touchdowns to begin the fourth quarter. Thompkins caught a 33-yard touchdown from Hippeard to give the Brigade a 41-19 lead.
Then, Collins caught an 11-yard touchdown to make it 48-19. Thompkins also had a 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Kauleinamoku caught a 14-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the third quarter to make it 27-13. Soul defensive back Torez Jones had a two-yard interception return for a touchdown a little more than a minute after Kauleinamoku’s touchdown to make it 27-19.
Baltimore led 27-0 before Prince’s touchdown. Hippeard had a one-yard rushing touchdown.
He also connected with Collins for a 36-yard touchdown reception. Stephens also caught a 34-yard touchdown reception, and Thompkins caught a five-yard touchdown reception.