Last Saturday, the AFL’s oldest franchise escaped with a narrow victory over it’s newest. The Philadelphia Soul found themselves in a 20-7 hole, with the visiting Atlantic City Blackjacks, knocking on the door for another score. It wasn’t what the 9,245 fans at Wells Fargo Center were expecting from their 3-time Arena Bowl Champions. Expansion teams are typically like red-headed step-children, ripe for a beating! The Soul played with no soul up to this point and were now about to be down by 20 late in the first half. That all changed on one play.
James Romain picked off a Randy Hippeard pass at the goal line, and took it 50 yards for the score, bringing the Soul’s soul back into the City of Brotherly Love. The arena echoed with ecstatic screams as the flashy teal jerseys zipped across the carpet like luminescent algae on a red sea. The splash of color, coupled with Phenom Elite’s bold and fashionable uniforms, created a palette that was both cosmetically fresh, and aesthetically beautiful! Some may argue that the NFL has the best football play. The AFL, however, may boast the best look.
James Romain wasn’t done. He returned another interception, 23 yards for a second score, helping his team avoid the embarrassment of losing to a deck of poker cards. In fairness, the Blackjacks looked good. The shiny new decals on black matte helmets and gorgeous red facemasks and uniforms were slick! Their football play was decent, as well! But, Atlantic City can be known to have a few gamblers. They failed an on-side kick attempt, with the game tied, and 5:56 left to play.
Blackjacks receiver, Lamark Brown, had eight catches for 90 yards and caught 3 of Hippeard’s five touchdowns. On defense, Arthur Hobbs had a staggering nine tackles. The one glaring area they could improve is to have a balanced offense. It appears that those in Atlantic City like to gamble, but having only one rushing attempt in a game, is like going for the royal flush whenever you haven’t been dealt the right cards–and Romain took the tokens.
The Soul offense, however, was well balanced. Running back Adrien Ferns got the hat-trick with three touchdowns on eight carries. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw two touchdowns to two dudes named Darius. The Darius Duo of Prince and Reynolds combined for 14 catches, 101 yards, and a touchdown each. Unfortunately for the Soul, reports are being circulated that Darius Reynolds has been placed on injured reserve due to an injury. The 48-41 final score at least shows that it was an entertaining game. There was one of those played in Baltimore the night before where the Brigade held off the Valor 59-51.
The Soul travel to take on their fellow, undefeated Brigade. Kickoff is at 7 PM EST on Friday.
The Atlantic City Blackjacks will host the Columbus Destroys, Saturday afternoon and 3:30. Will they gamble this time? Will it end with their first franchise victory?