Philadelphia Soul Drop Home Opener 59-41 to Jacksonville Sharks
The Philadelphia Soul kicked off their 2016 home season on Monday, April 10th when they hosted the Jacksonville Sharks. The Soul were looking to start the season 2-0 after winning their first road game of the season but an undefeated season just wasn’t in the cards for Philadelphia as they ran into a formidable Shark attack.
Philadelpiha QB Dan Raudabaugh was picked off on the Soul’s opening drive by Greg Reid, leading to the first of seven touchdown passes from Jacksonville QB Tommy Grady.Philly quickly knotted the score at 7-7 after a 1 yard TD plunge by RB Darius Reynolds. However, less than 3 minutes later, Grady connected with WR Joe Hills on a 35 yard TD pass. The duo would hook up on three more TDs during the game, leading to an ‘Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game’ award for Hills. Before the quarter ended, Raudabaugh hit WR Shaun Kauleinamoku for a TD strike to again tie the score, 14-14.
Both teams scored two TDs apiece in the second quarter, but Soul PK Tommy Frevert missed the extra point on Philly’s fourth TD of the game, and the Soul trailed the Sharks 28-27 at half time.
Ths Sharks, who had won the coin toss before the game and deferred to the second half, opened the third quarter with a 28 yard TD pass to take an 8 point lead. The Soul again pulled within 1 point of the Sharks but Jacksonville quickly answered with another TD to push their lead back to 8. Raudabaugh was picked off for the second time as the third quarter drew to a close with Jacksonville up 42-34.
The fourth quarter scoring opened with the Sharks converting a FG to expand the lead to 11 points, 45-34. A fumble by the Soul lead to another Shark’s TD and the lead ballooned to 52-34 with 9:31 left in the game. Attempting to overcome the 18 point deficit, Raudabaugh was intercepted for the third time. Once again the turnover led to more points for the Sharks on the fourth TD from Grady to Hills.
Raudabaugh was replaced by backup QB Luke Collis who hit Reynolds for a 33 yard score but it was too little, too late. The Soul lost by the final score of 59-41. It was the four costly turnovers (and Jacksonville’s ability to capitalize on their subsequent possessions) that proved to be the difference in the game. It would be hard for any team to overcome that many turnovers in a single game. Philly looks to right the ship when they host the Portland Steel on Sunday, April 17 at the Wells Fargo Center (4PM kickoff).