PHILADELPHIA – The runaway train did not stop rolling.
The defending champion Philadelphia Soul punched their ticket to Arena Bowl XXX with a 69-54 win over the Baltimore Brigade. While the game was a tight one throughout, the Soul pulled away in the fourth quarter to ensure one more game at the Wells Fargo Center with a championship at stake.
The win for the Soul was almost routine. Head coach Clint Dolezel said while there were some struggles at certain points in the game, but those mistakes are easily fixable for the Arena Bowl.
“We busted three zones and they got some easy touchdowns,”Dolezel said. “It’s stuff we’ll clean up but I’m not too overly concerned. We made plays when we needed to.”
With an All-star wide receiver core, one is bound to step in and steal the show. Darius Reynolds fit the bill against Baltimore. Reynolds finished the night with 171 yards and six touchdowns.
“I was just trying to do what I had to do to win,” Reynolds said. “Dan kept throwing it to me and coach kept giving me chances, so I knew I had to make plays.”
Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was certainly a key factor to Reynolds’ success Saturday night. The MVP candidate threw for 324 yards and nine touchdowns.
“He played a big time game in a big time situation for us,” Raudabaugh said.
Baltimore, who gave Philadelphia their only loss of the season, ran out of steam in the final act and saw their first playoff appearance end in disappointment. However, QB Shane Boyd turned in another solid performance in a loss with 324 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Soul will host Arena Bowl XXX against Tampa Bay or Cleveland, who play Monday to determine who will get a shot at the defending champions. Philadelphia will be going for their second-consecutive title and third overall since 2008.
Dolezel, who has experience in the big game as head coach, said he is looking forward to the Soul hosting the Arena Bowl for the first time. In Philadelphia’s four previous appearances, they have played at a neutral site or on the road.
I hope this place is rocking,” Dolezel said. “Our fans are great and we hope to see the city of Philadelphia witness the great brand of football we have.”
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