PHILADELPHIA – Meaningless, sure. Predictive, quite possible. The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Tampa Bay Storm 41-28 to close out the regular season 13-1 and as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
With Tampa Bay finishing as the second seed, these two could be up for an Arena Bowl XXX showdown on August 26.
While the starters played minimally in a game that had no impact on the standings, the backups shined for the Soul but the focus immediately shifted to next weeks semi final game against Baltimore.
Quarterback and MVP candidate Dan Raudabaugh finished the night with 145 yards and two touchdowns before backup Luke Collins took over and finished up the win. The 13-1 mark gave Philadelphia the fourth best regular season winning percentage in Arena Football League history.
After a short, but solid night from Raudabaugh, he sat on the bench already thinking about winning another championship. There was no hesitation when discussing the playoffs.
Baltimore (4-10) was the only team to take down the Soul this season, however Philadelphia won three of four meetings this season, including a 70-21 whacking in their series finale.
Raudabaugh expressed confidence but knew there are no guarantees when it comes to the postseason.
“We were fortunate enough to put a drop on them last time we played them but you never know because it’s the playoffs,” Raudabaugh said. “We’re going to come out and get it rolling.”
During the game, one Soul player was going for individual milestone. Linebacker Beau Bell broke the team’s individual season sack record against Tampa Bay by extending his total to 12.5 on the season. The previous record was held by defensive lineman Bryan Robinson.
Bell, who has been a star this season, credited his teammates for making his record breaking season remotely possible.
“It feels good because I know it’s a team effort,” Beau said. “Guys on the line like Sean Daniels, have helped me accomplish it because they know how to get pressure on the quarterback.”
Looking at next week, Tampa Bay (10-4) will host the Cleveland Gladiators (5-9) as both teams attempt to make their run at a championship.
Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said he was satisfied with a tune up win and felt the team is ready to earn back to back titles.
“I thought we got after the quarterback a lot better,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said after the game, “I thought we handled ourselves pretty well and we’ll be ready for Baltimore.”