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Soul Advance to ArenaBowl 32

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 7.27.29 AM
(Mike Bruce/SportsTalkPhilly.com)

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

FINAL | Soul 48, Valor 41 | Boxscore | Attendance: 8,537

Amid their eighth straight postseason run, the Philadelphia Soul will compete in the Arena Football League championship game — the ArenaBowl — for the sixth time in franchise history and the third time over the last four seasons.

On Sunday, the team defeated the reigning league champion Washington Valor at the Wells Fargo Center — the second of a two-game, home-and-home playoff series — 48-42. The Soul either needed to win or lose by no more than 35 points on Sunday to clinch a berth to the ArenaBowl, given they gained a 36-point advantage in the aggregate-deciding series, also defeating the Valor last Sunday, 69-33. The total aggregate score was 117-74 in favor of the Soul.

By advancing to the championship with the playoff series sweep, the Soul tie the Detroit Drive for the fourth-most ArenaBowl appearances in AFL history, bested only by the Arizona Rattlers (10), Tampa Bay Storm (8) and Orlando Predators (7).

ArenaBowl 32 will take place next Sunday, August 11, against the Albany Empire at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York.


Game Summary:

The Soul wasted no time adding to their aggregate lead. Following a Valor turnover on downs to start the playoff contest, Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh connected with First-Team All-Arena WR Darius Prince on the first play of their opening drive for a 23-yard score. Prince has scored in 17 straight games dating back to last season, and would finish with two more, including the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining. In four games against the Valor this season, Prince logged 433 yards and nine scores.

Second Team All-Arena FB Adrian Ferns added onto his impressive season, scoring two touchdowns of his own, one rushing and one receiving.

Desperate to try to regain ground in the aggregate scoring, the Valor attempted seven onside kicks, however six of them were recovered by the Soul.

Washington Second Team All-Arena QB Arvell Nelson threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns, yet again found himself under pressure like in Week 1 of the playoffs. The Soul defense picked off Nelson twice and sacked him a season-high five times.   

Playoffs Week 1 (Away at Valor) W, 69-33 — Sunday, July 28, 2019

In Week 1 of the two-week, home-and-home playoff series at at Capital One Arena, the Soul came ready to play in all phases of the game, and came away with their second-largest playoff victory and the largest on the road. The Soul offense posted its highest point total all season (69), scoring on all but one drive, along with Torez Jones' onside kick recovery touchdown.

Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh and WR Darius Reynolds shined, respectively completing 17 passes for 284 yards and six touchdowns, and catching eight passes for 115 yards and a game-high three touchdown receptions.

Defensively, the Soul limited dual-threat Valor QB Arvell Nelson to just a 56.4 competition percentage, as opposed to Raudabaugh's 73.9. Soul franchise interception leader James Romain picked off Nelson three times in the win. Nelson also was sacked twice by the Soul defense and lost a fumble at the Soul’s two-yard line; he was the league leader in total offense during the regular season, but was limited to just four rushing attempts for 24 yards due to being under pressure.

While the Soul were outscored 7-6 in the opening quarter, they would outscore their opponent on each of the final three quarters: 14-0, 21-13, and 28-13. The Valor opened the second half with a touchdown, shrinking the Soul lead to just seven points. Clint Dolezel's team stuck to its game plan, however, combining a key onside kick recovery, strong offense, and defensive turnovers.

View Week 1 Playoffs Stats


Stats:

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

FINAL

Valor

6

22

13

0

41

Soul

14

21

6

7

48

  • First Downs: WSH 19, PHI 10
    • Rushing: WSH 1, PHI 2
    • Passing: WSH 15, PHI 7
  • Net Yards Rushing: WSH 6, PHI 4
    • Rush Attempts: WSH 3, PHI 4
    • Average Per Rush: WSH 2.0, PHI 1.0
    • Rushing Touchdowns: WSH 1, PHI 1
  • Net Yards Passing: WSH 344, PHI 140
    • Comp-Att-Int: WSH 23-42-2, PHI 12-26-0
    • Average per attempt: WSH 8.2, PHI 5.4
    • Average per completion: WSH 15.0, PHI 11.7
  • Total Offensive Yards: WSH 350, PHI 144
    • Total Offensive Plays: WSH 50, PHI 30
    • Average Gain Per Play: WSH 7.0, PHI 4.8
  • Fumbles (No-Lost): WSH 0-0, PHI 0-0
  • Penalties (No-Yards): WSH 8-48, PHI 5-26
  • Kickoffs-Yards: WSH 0-0, PHI 8-453
    • Average Yards Per Kickoff: WSH 0, PHI 56.6
    • Touchbacks: WSH 0, PHI 3
  • Time of Possession: WSH 33:20, PHI 26:40
  • Third Down Conversions: WSH 1-6, PHI 1-5
  • Fourth Down Conversions: WSH 2-5, PHI 2-4
  • Red-Zone Scores-Chances: WSH 3-7, PHI 4-6
  • PAT Kicks: WSH 3-3, PHI 6-7

Scoring Summary:

1st quarter

  • PHI, 7-0 (10:53): QB Dan Raudabaugh 23-yard pass to WR Darius Prince; K Kenny Spencer kick good.
  • WSH, 6-7 (7:52): QB Arvell Nelson 9-yard pass to WR Doug McNeil; Two-point attempt no good.
  • PHI, 14-6 (3:08): FB Adrian Ferns 1-yard rushing touchdown; K Kenny Spencer kick good.

2nd quarter

  • WSH, 13-14 (11:12): QB Arvell Nelson 3-yard rushing touchdown; K Pat Clarke kick good.
  • PHI, 21-13 (10:34): Torez Jones 14-yard kickoff return; K Kenny Spencer kick good.
  • WSH, 20-21 (11:12): Dezmon Epps 56-yard kickoff return; K Pat Clarke kick good.
  • PHI, 28-20 (7:54): QB Dan Raudabaugh 11-yard pass to WR Lonnie Outlaw; K Kenny Spencer kick good.
  • WSH, 28-28 (4:37): QB Arvell Nelson 17-yard pass to WR Josh Reese; Two-point attempt no good.
  • PHI, 35-28 (1:03): QB Dan Raudabaugh 7-yard pass to FB Adrian Ferns; K Kenny Spencer kick good.

3rd quarter

  • WSH, 35-35 (10:35): QB Arvell Nelson 37-yard pass to WR Reggie Gray; K Pat Clarke kick good.
  • PHI, 41-35 (6:48): QB Dan Raudabaugh 4-yard pass to WR Darius Prince; K Kenny Spencer kick no good.
  • WSH, 41-41 (5:24): QB Arvell Nelson 45-yard pass to WR Dezmon Epps; Two-point attempt no good.

4th quarter

  • PHI, 48-41 (2:18): QB Dan Raudabaugh 4-yard pass to WR Darius Prince; K Kenny Spencer kick good.

What's Next:

Sunday, August 11, 2019: ArenaBowl 32, 8 p.m. on ESPN2

The Soul are 1-2 against the Empire this season, with one of the losses coming in the final game of the regular season, a matchup that featured both teams’ backup quarterbacks for the entire second half.

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