The Philadelphia Soul (3-4) will host the newest expansion team to join the Arena Football League, the Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-4) at the Wells Fargo Center, Sunday at 4 pm. The Soul won their previous and only ever matchup against the Blackjacks, 48-41, to open up this 2019 season.
In the 2019 home opener, James Romain returned two interceptions for a touchdown. Romain is in a groove when it comes to getting interceptions as of late, picking one off last week against the Washington Valor. The offensive MVP for the week one game was Philadelphia Soul fullback, Adrian Ferns, who had three touchdowns. The defensive MVP, as mentioned was James Romain.
Speaking of the Washington Valor, the Philadelphia Soul did lose to them last Sunday in a game that is quoted by multiple Soul players around the locker room as a “wake up call.” “It would be some adjectives I don’t like to use on camera, other than with my own guys. We didn’t play well, that’s the bottom line,” was the reaction from Soul head coach, Clint Dolezel, last Sunday after the loss. “We need to come out with our hair on fire, for real, to send a message to ourselves this week at practice,” said Soul quarterback, Dan Raudabaugh. The most vocal about this week is James Romain:
“Win. I don’t care how we got to do it, we have to win. By any means necessary. Scratching, crawling, punching, spitting, grabbing, eye gouging, mouth hooking, whatever we- got to do to win, I’m for it. That’s what I’m waiting for. As a leader, I’m going to go out there and give it my all,” said Philadelphia Soul defensive back, James Romain. When we had the opportunity to speak with Romain after the loss to the Washington Valor, these words were said full of promise. He knows that this Soul team is better than advertised. As of this moment, the Soul is in fourth place in the AFL standings, holding the last seeded playoff position.
Last week, the Atlantic City Blackjacks suffered a loss to the previously winless Columbus Destroyers, so they did stumble. Clint Dolezel added additional urgency to this matchup against the Blackjacks, “we don’t have the tie-breaker over anybody except for them right now, so we’ve got to keep that on our side.”
The Philadelphia Soul looks to rekindle momentum they once had before last week’s game. It’s understood and owned that this is a “wake up call” game from Clint Dolezel, Dan Raudabaugh, and James Romain. This is the last game of a three game home stand for the Soul, so it is very important to have momentum on their side. One thing trending positively for the Soul is that they are previously undefeated against teams coached by Ron James. The Atlantic City Blackjacks, a team coached by Ron James, is winless on the road this season. If both of these trends continue, the Soul is in line to get back on track this week. The starts can’t align on history alone, however. The team has to step up and catch fire now.
My prediction for this game is another high scoring affair. I have the Philadelphia Soul getting back to .500 before going back on the road, winning the game with a final score of 49-42. What will be key is the consistency of Kenny Spencer. This past week could have been very ugly if Spencer missed any extra point attempts, but he found his groove and did his job. If Spencer can replicate his performance against the Washington Valor this past week, it would keep the Soul in range to win any game. The Soul’s defense has been coming alive, but there were bounces last week that just didn’t fall in their favor. We will know early in this game by the look of the offense and their fluidity. If Dan Raudabaugh is in sync with Darius Prince, finds BJ Bunn on quick reads, and Lonnie Outlaw finds the endzone, then we will be seeing the Soul football we know. Adrian Ferns is going to be a commodity this game, considering his performance last week and against the Atlantic City Blackjacks previously.
“This should be a wake up call. I haven’t started three and four here ever and we’re swallowing a tough pill right now. I’ve gotta police myself to get the other guys right. Obviously, my leadership skills ain’t getting the young guys ready, so I gotta’ switch up something. AC’s got something coming from me.”
The rest of that Philadelphia Soul locker room agrees. With the fire that James Romain is coming out of that loss to the Washington Valor, 4pm on Sunday cannot get here quick enough. Watch on ESPN 3 or NBCSP+ and listen on 97.5FM The Fanatic.
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.