Atlantic City, NJ – The Philadelphia Soul (7-4) rolled into Atlantic City to take on the Blackjacks (4-7) in what turned out to be a game where late heroics emerged in front of 7,104 people. The Soul would end up winning 50-45 on a beautiful touchdown pass to Darius Prince with 13 seconds left. A play that would seal the win for Philadelphia.
The Soul would jump out to an early 14-0 lead. This was thanks to a quick strike to Darius Prince for a 31 yard touchdown. Soul would then make the two point conversion on a beautiful fake field goal. The defense will then compliment the offense with a interception from James Romain, which was his league leading 8th interception of the season. Soul would then score with a rushing touchdown from Adrian Ferns but would miss the extra point attempt. BJ Bunn would later score a rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
But still the Blackjacks would continue to fight back thanks to a pair of touchdowns from Warren Smith. The first one was a pass thrown to LaMark Brown for 40 yards and the second touchdown was when Smith decided to keep it himself and run it in for the score. Atlantic City would then be able to drive down the field within seconds of the first half ending and kick a field goal as time expired to make the score 20-16 with the Soul leading going into the locker room.
The second half would prove to be just as exciting if not better at the end of the game. The third quarter started with the Blackjacks striking first. Warren Smith would throw a pass to Antwane Grant for a 34 yard touchdown to take the lead against the Soul for the first time in the game, 23-20. Soul would answer right back with an Adrian Ferns rushing touchdown, his second of the game making it 27-23 Soul leading and this is how the third quarter would close.
The fourth quarter is when both teams would score a combining 45 points. The quarter would start with the Blackjacks scoring very quickly from a 6 yard pass from Warren Smith to Fredrick Ruff on a beautiful play action design that set up Ruff open in the end zone. Dan Raudabaugh would respond within two plays with a 45 yard pass to BJ Bunn to make the score 34-30 Soul. The next drive, the Soul defense would make another stop proving that they are one of the best in the league. Warren Smith would be sacked and fumble in the end zone caused by Jameer Outsey. The fumble would be scooped up by Fredrick Ruff who would be tackled in the end zone by Keith Newell which would be ruled as a safety, thus putting the Soul in front by a touchdown. Due to the safety, the Blackjacks would then have to kick the ball back to Philadelphia. However, they attempted an onside kick which proved to be successful, with that momentum the Blackjacks would march down the field and score with a 31 yard pass to LaMark Brown to retake the lead after the extra point, 37-36. The Blackjacks would once again gamble for another successful on-sides kick (making it two in a row) but on offense, Warren Smith threw his second interception, this time to Dwayne Hollis who would take it to the house for a touchdown. The Soul would convert another two point conversion to put them ahead by seven, via a nice diving one handed grab by Lonnie Outlaw, to make the game 44-37. The Blackjacks would not be let down by scoring a touchdown with only 30 seconds remaining in the game via a touchdown pass to Antwanne Grant for 21 yards. This would make the score 45-44 with the Blackjacks only to hold off the Soul for 30 seconds and then victory. But the Blackjacks would commit a key defensive penalty on a third down play allowing for the Soul’s offense to remain on the field with a new set of downs and time still on the clock. Dan Raudabaugh would capitalize on this mistake connecting with Darius Prince in the end zone to give the Soul, not only the go ahead score with 12 seconds left, but what would end up being the game winning score. In a last ditch effort and while battling a foot injury of sort, Warren Smith would take his team to midfield. From there he would launch a bomb into the end zone that would go through multiple players’ hands but fall to the ground. This is how the game would come to a close. The Philadelphia Soul would end up surviving Atlantic City, and return back to Philly with a 50-45 victory.
Dan Raudabaugh would prove to be effective against the Blackjacks’ defense yet again, this time throwing 16/24 for 221 yard and 3 touchdowns., two of those to Darius Prince whom would himslef end up receiving 8 passes for 124. BJ Bunn would also prove to have a good game having 5 catches for 70 yards and 1 receiving touchdown, he would also have a rushing touchdown. Adrian Ferns, not to be left out, proved to be a goalline killer against the Blackjacks having 2 rushing touchdowns making that 5 total rushing touchdowns against the Blackjacks. The Soul’s defense is proving they are one of the best with interceptions from James Romain and Dwayne Hollis. Romain is really proving why he should be Defensive Player of the Year. On top of a sack and force fumble from Jameer Outsey, Thomas Dover would also pick up a sack himself.
On a losing effort the Blackjacks were able to put up some individual numbers. LaMark Brown would end up having 10 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Antwane Grant would have 6 catches for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite the two interceptions, Warren Smith would finish the game with 22/33 for 306 yards and 5 passing touchdowns and with 1 rushing touchdown.
With the Soul win, they look to try and push for the number one seed that is currently held by the Albany Empire. Meanwhile the Blackjacks are hoping to stay alive for the playoffs as a win for the Washington Valor next week would mean the Blackjacks are out of postseason play for the 2019 season. But also the Baltimore Brigade benefitted from this game too as with the Soul win, the Brigade locked up the third playoff spot.
Next week both the Soul and Blackjacks are on a bye as the rest of the league was on a bye this week. The Soul will return to action in two weeks when they will travel to Albany to take on the Empire. Meanwhile, the Blackjacks will host their final home game against the Baltimore Brigade.