Courtesy: Philadelphia Soul Media Relations
WASHINGTON, DC – The Philadelphia Soul (2-2) dropped their second straight game, falling to the defending ArenaBowl champion Washington Valor (2-2) 53-46 on Saturday night at Capital One Arena. After overcoming a 15-point deficit to take their first lead of the game with 23 seconds remaining, the Soul gave up a 46-yard touchdown on Washington’s next possession, sealing a Valor victory.
Though Washington’s dual-threat quarterback Arvell Nelson accounted for four touchdowns in the first two quarters (two passing and two rushing), the Soul remained within striking distance, trailing 28-20 at the half. Yet, the Valor appeared likely to pull away in the third quarter following an uncharacteristic mistake from Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. After being nearly perfect through the first two and a half quarters (11-13), Raudabaugh was picked off in the end zone, giving Washington the ball back with a chance to extend their lead. Reggie Gray’s second touchdown of the game put the Valor up 42-27 with under three to play in the third quarter.
The Soul responded quickly, as Raudabaugh found Prince downfield for a 40-yard touchdown. However, an onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff only traveled nine yards, giving the ball back to the Valor on the Philadelphia nine-yard line.
With Washington threatening to go up two scores once more, defensive back Dwayne Hollis came up big once again. Having already picked off Nelson early in the first quarter, Hollis recorded a crucial pass breakup on fourth and goal to force a turnover on downs.
Still a one-possession game, the Soul capitalized with a 6-play, 47-yard drive capped by Aaron Wascha’s second score of the game, cutting the Valor lead to two.
After driving down to the Philadelphia five-yard line, Washington looked poised to put the game out of reach for good on their next possession. However, a bad snap that resulted in a loss of 15 yards and back-to-back false start penalties pushed the Valor offense back into their own territory.
Forced to settle for a field goal, Washington then attempted an onside kick that hit the wall to give the Soul the ball on the Washington 14-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. Two plays later, Raudabaugh connected with Wascha again, giving the Soul their first lead of the game.
After Philadelphia’s failed two-point attempt, Washington started from their own four-yard line with 23 seconds on the clock. Following an incompletion, Nelson, the game MVP, found Josh Reese deep downfield for the 46-yard score. The two-point conversion on the next play was simply icing on the cake for Washington, who cemented a 53-46 victory.
The loss ruined impressive individual performances by Raudabaugh (19-26, 280 yards, 7 TDs), Wascha (115 receiving yards, 3 TDs), and Darius Prince (115 receiving yards, 2 TDs) and dropped the Soul to 2-2 on the year.
Philadelphia will look to avoid a three-game losing streak when the team travels to Baltimore next Sunday at 3 pm.