Game Preview: Soul to Host Conference Championship this Friday
PHILADELPHIA (July 30, 2012) - The Eastern Division Champion Philadelphia Soul (16-3) host the defending ArenaBowl champion, Jacksonville Sharks (11-8) in the American Conference Championship game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. ET this Friday, August 3. The game will be broadcast on nationally on "NET10 Arena Football Friday" on NFL Network.
Friday's game marks the first time the Soul will be playing in the American Conference Championship since winning the ArenaBowl in 2008. Philadelphia, who shattered the AFL single-season scoring record with 1,228 points, earned their spot in the Conference Championship by defeating the New Orleans VooDoo 66-53 in Saturday's hard fought First Round playoff game.
"This is what we set as a goal back when we opened training camp in February," said Soul head coach Doug Plank. "The opportunity to play in the ArenaBowl is right in front of us and we will need to continue to play at the high level against the defending champions if we expect to come away with the victory."
Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh finished the game by connecting on 19-of-31 passes for 250 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Offensive Player of the Game, Donovan Morgan finished with four receptions for 80 yards and three touchdowns. JLS Ironman of the Game Jeff Hughley recorded eight receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He also added five kick returns for 110 yards. Larry Brackins contributed three receptions for 43 yards and two touchdowns and Emery Sammons had four receptions for 51 yards.
Defensively, Rayshaun Kizer recorded 7.5 tackles and two interceptions. Bryan Robinson recorded 3.0 tackles, including two sacks. LaRico Stevenson recorded an integral forced fumble and recovery late in the game.
While the Soul ran away with the victory in the final minutes of their game, the Sharks faced a more uncertain outcome. Jacksonville narrowly beat the Georgia Force 58-56. Sharks kicker Marco Capozzoli managed to sneak in a 51-yard field goal as time expired for the victory.
The Sharks are led by QB Bernard Morris, who has completed 217-of-349 passes for 2,402 yards, 59 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games this season. Jeron Harvey led all Shark receivers with 101 receptions for 970 yards and 25 touchdowns, while Terrance Smith had 99 receptions for 1,158 yards and 29 touchdowns.
The players who contributed to Saturday's victory are the same players who have made the Soul's 2012 season such a success. All-Arena and National Guard MVP candidate, QB Dan Raudabaugh has rewritten the Soul's franchise history books. Raudabaugh broke team records for passing yards in a single season (4,790), passing touchdowns in a single season (115), pass completions in a single season (362) and touchdown passes in a game (11).
Part of Raudabaugh's successful season can be attributed to the Soul's offensive line. Arguably the backbone of Philadelphia's record-breaking offense, the line - comprised of Brennen Carvalho, Christian Johnson, Devin Clark and Zipp Duncan - has tied the franchise record for sacks allowed in a single season (5).
FB Derrick Ross, a candidate for National Guard MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Arena, has also contributed to Philadelphia's offensive successes. Ross broke numerous franchise records, including rushing attempts in a single season (146), rushing touchdowns in a single season (32) and rushing yards in a single game (84). The former Tarleton State Texan broke his own League record for rushing yards in a single season (645).
The Soul's defense has also proved to be integral to the team's winning ways. DL Bryan Robinson's excellent play throughout the regular season has earned him candidacy for Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Lineman of the Year and All-Arena. Robinson has broken the League's single-season record for blocked kicks (7) as well as the single-season franchise record for sacks (10).
Defensive Player of the Year and All-Arena candidate DB Kent Richardson has made an impact on the Soul's defensive this year. Richardson's impressive numbers have helped put him in the Top 10 for many League defensive stats this season. He's also moved into Philadelphia's record books, breaking the franchise single-season interception record (14).
Fans who want to see the Soul take on the Sharks for a chance to contend for the ArenaBowl XXV Championship can contact the Soul box office at (215) 253-4900, ext. 3 or visit www.philadelphiasoul.com.
• Discuss this story on the Arena Football League message board...
Arena Football League Stories from July 30, 2012
- NFL Network Talent Announced for AVITAE ArenaBowl XXV - AFL
- Game Preview: Soul to Host Conference Championship this Friday - Philadelphia Soul
- Vote Mustangs Ryan McFoy National Guard Community MVP - Milwaukee Mustangs
- Sharks, Soul to be Aired on NFL Network - Philadelphia Soul
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.