The Philadelphia Soul took a ride down the shore this weekend to visit the Atlantic City Blackjacks in what was the first road game of two to finish the Arena Football League regular season. The Soul already clinched a playoff spot after their win against the Albany Empire last week and the Blackjacks still had slim playoff hopes. Philadelphia had never lost to Atlantic City this season, so the Blackjacks had an opportunity to get one back at the Soul this year. Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City featured 7104 in attendance to watch a game that went down to the wire. Philadelphia defeated the Blackjacks, 50-45 with thirteen seconds left to play.
Since the last time these two teams met and Warren Smith took over at quarterback for the Atlantic City Blackjacks, I think that the Blackjacks have become more dangerous on offense. Smith threw for five touchdowns and for three hundred and six yards. The fatal errors that kept the Philadelphia Soul in the game were the two interceptions, one to James Romain and the other returned for a touchdown by Dwayne Hollis. Smith was also sacked two times but did not have a terrible day. Take all the good that Smith had for the Blackjacks and understand the fact that Dan Raudabaugh played a cleaner, more efficient game. Raudabaugh threw for only three touchdowns in comparison with two hundred and twenty-one yards passing. He also was not sacked and did not throw any interceptions. The play between two players and how it affects the flow of an offense can tell the outcome of a game.
While Dan Raudabaugh didn’t throw for a ton of touchdowns, the Philadelphia Soul were very effective on the ground, running the football. This is a strength that the Soul has had in their arsenal on their way to securing a playoff spot. Adrian Ferns had rushed for two touchdowns and BJ Bunn rushed for one for Philadelphia. The Atlantic City Blackjacks also featured a rushing touchdown in their offensive production from Warren Smith. Smith was the offensive player of the game because of how large of a contribution he made towards Atlantic City scoring 45 points. However, the Soul offensive line needs to be treated after keeping Dan Raudabaugh upright all night and also powering Ferns and Bunn into the endzone on rushing plays.
The Philadelphia Soul gave themselves a chance because of the play of their defense, which is playing white hot right now. Thomas Dover and Jameer Outsey both had a sack on Warren Smith while James Romain and Dwayne Hollis had an interception. Hollis returned him for a touchdown to shut down the Atlantic City Blackjacks directly after a successful onside kick. On Outsey’s sack, it should be noted that he forced a fumble. Many opportunities to get the ball back were created by the Soul defense, but, it was the defensive player of the game, Hollis, who created the biggest impact.
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