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Soul Win Season Opener as Romain Sets Franchise Interceptions Record

Romain
Philadelphia Soul DB James Romain celebrates his first of two pick-6 interceptions opposite the Atlantic City Blackjacks and QB Randy Hippeard on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the Wells Fargo Center (Kyle Bennett/Underground Sports Philadelphia).

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Kicking off its 14th season in franchise history before 9,245 fans, the Philadelphia Soul (1-0) edged Arena Football League newcomer Atlantic City Blackjacks (0-1), 48-41.

Taking the field for his 10th season in the league, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 21 of his 31 attempts, with one interception, combining for 151 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Darius Reynolds and Darius Prince. Fullback Adrian Ferns rushed for three touchdowns while netting 12 total yards.

With the win, the Soul won their fifth straight season opener, as well as their seventh straight game against a Ron James-coached team.


Romain Sets New Franchise Record

Last season's AFL Defensive Back of the Year, James Romain, made history in the second quarter. With the Soul down 20-7 and the Blackjacks threatening to extend their lead even further, Romain intercepted Blackjacks QB Randy Hippeard and went the distance for a 50-yard pick-6.

The interception, Romain's 33rd with the Soul since 2013, broke his tie with Eddie Moten (2005-08) for the most in franchise history.

With approximately five minutes to go in the third quarter, Romain would come up with another clutch pick-6, his second of the game to give the Soul their first lead following the successful extra-point (34-27).

Romain is the first AFL player to record multiple pick-sixes in a game since the Cleveland Gladiators' Joe Powell, against the Soul in 2016; he is the first Soul player to accomplish such feat since Joe Goosby in 2012. Also, Romain is one of the Soul's six returning defensive players from the 2018 season, in which he had four interceptions overall.


Game Notes:

  • Season-Opening Scuffles: Similar to tension seen at the Soul and Blackjacks' joint scrimmage on April 13 in Pitman, the season opener featured multiple scuffles between the two teams, culminating to two ejections with with just 48 seconds left in the first half: Blackjacks NG Micnaor Regis and Soul G Neal Tivis. The ejections happened after Darius Prince's touchdown at the end of the second quarter.
  • Serious Injury: With under seven minutes to go, Raudabaugh was picked off by Blackjacks DB Marvin Ross, who was carted off with a serious injury. Ross gave a thumbs up to the Philadelphia crowd.
  • Blackjacks’ receiver LaMark Brown finished with 79 yards and three touchdowns.

Stats

At Halftime

  • 1st downs: PHI 8, AC 5
  • Rushes-yards (net): PHI 6-3, AC 1-1
  • Passing yards (net): PHI 81, AC 90
  • Passing attempts-completions-interceptions: PHI 16-9-0, AC 13-8-1
  • Total offensive plays-yards: PHI 22-84, AC 14-91
  • Fumble returns-yards: PHI 0-0, AC 0-0
  • Punt returns-yards: PHI 0-0, AC 0-0
  • Kickoff returns-yards: PHI 2-21, AC 1-27
  • Interception returns-yards: PHI 1-50, AC 0-0
  • Punts (number-average): PHI 0-0.0, AC 0-0.0
  • Fumbles-lost: PHI 1-1, AC 0-0
  • Penalties-yards: PHI 0-0, AC 2-5
  • Possession time: PHI 17:17, AC 12:43
  • Third-down conversions: PHI 2/5, AC 2/2
  • Fourth-down conversions: PHI 2/3, AC 0/0
  • Red-zone scores-chances: PHI 2/2, AC 3/4

End-of-game

  • 1st downs: PHI 17, AC 10
  • Rushes-yards (net): PHI 12-8, AC 1-1
  • Passing yards (net): PHI 151, AC 171
  • Passing attempts-completions-interceptions: PHI 31-21-1, AC 26-18-2
  • Total offensive plays-yards: PHI 43-159, AC 28-172
  • Fumble returns-yards: PHI 1-16, AC 0-0
  • Punt returns-yards: PHI 0-0, AC 0-0
  • Kickoff returns-yards: PHI 3-38, AC 4-76
  • Interception returns-yards: PHI 2-73, AC 1-10
  • Punts (number-average): PHI 0-0.0, AC 0-0.0
  • Fumbles-lost: PHI 1-1, AC 1-1
  • Penalties-yards: PHI 5-30, AC 7-24
  • Possession time: PHI 35:17, AC 24:43
  • Third-down conversions: PHI 3/8, AC 3/4
  • Fourth-down conversions: PHI 3/4, AC 0/0
  • Red-zone scores-chances: PHI 5/5, AC 4/6

Scoring Summary:

1st quarter

  • AC, 7-0: QB Randy Hippeard to WR LaMark Brown (9 yards); 11:32 left in quarter
  • AC, 14-0: Blackjacks recover fumble on their kickoff to Soul; QB Randy Hippeard sneak (1 yard); 10:05 left in quarter
  • PHI, 7-14: FB Adrian Ferns rushing TD (1 yard); 1:11 left in quarter

2nd quarter

  • AC, 20-7: QB Randy Hippeard to WR LaMark Brown (38 yards); extra point missed; 14:14 left in half
  • PHI, 14-20: DB James Romain pick-6 (50 yards); 9:34 left in half
  • AC, 27-14: QB Randy Hippeard to WR LaMark Brown (14 yards); 6:35 left in half
  • PHI, 20-27: QB Dan Raudabaugh to WR Darius Prince (3 yards); extra point missed; 1:32 left in half

3rd quarter

  • PHI, 27-27: FB Adrian Ferns rushing TD (11 yard); 7:37 left in quarter
  • PHI, 34-27: DB James Romain pick-6 (23 yards); 5:34 left in quarter
  • AC, 34-34, QB Randy Hippeard to WR Antwane Grant (28 yards); 2:35 left in quarter

4th quarter

  • PHI, 41-34: QB Dan Raudabaugh to WR Darius Reynolds (3 yards); 14:16 left in game
  • AC, 41-41: QB Randy Hippeard to WR Kendrick Ings (2 yards); 5:56 left in game
  • PHI, 48-41: FB Adrian Ferns rushing TD (2 yards); 3:43 left in game

Soul Injury Report:

  • Center Jahlil Mathis-Ellis left game in 1st quarter and was replaced by tight end PK Manley. DB Willie Bailey also left with an injury; neither he, nor Mathis-Ellis, returned.
  • DE Sean Daniels walked off the field with approximately 13 minutes and 30 seconds to go. WR Darius Reynolds was shaken up late in the fourth, while completing a pass (59 seconds to go), with the Soul up 48-41. Both Daniels and Reynolds returned to action.
  • Injured reserve: OL Kyle Avaloy, FB Brandon Cottom, WR Josh Holderfield, WR DJ Myers

What's Next:

  • Friday, May 3, 2019: at Baltimore Brigade (1-0), 7 p.m.
    • TV: NBCSP+; Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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