The Tampa Bay Storm hosted the Philadelphia Soul at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday afternoon. The Soul needed a win and an Arizona Rattlers loss to jump to the #2 overall seed in the Arena Football League playoff standings.
The Soul defense stopped the Storm after kicking off to start the game. On the Soul first drive, quarterback Dan Raudabaugh found wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku on his first two passes, the second for the game’s first touchdown. The Storm would tie it up when quarterback Jason Boltus found Prechae Rodriguez for a touchdown.
The Soul would fumble the ball at the goal line and the Storm would recover. The Storm and Soul remained tied at seven at the end of one. Boltus was injured on a sack and Adam Kennedy went into the game for the Storm. Boltus would not return to the game with what was diagnosed as a lower leg injury.
After the Storm failed on another fourth down attempt, Raudabaugh found Darius “Money” Reynolds, his 100th touchdown catch, and the Soul were back on top. The Soul recovered a surprise onside kick, and the Soul scored again when Raudabaugh found SK for his second touchdown of the game. The Storm would close the gap when Kennedy found Kendrick Ings for a 40 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Soul led 21-13. The Soul would lead 28-19 at halftime.
The first touchdown of the second half came from the Storm when Kennedy found T.T Toliver in the end zone. The extra point was missed, and the Soul’s lead was 28-25. After the Soul scored to make the score 34-25, Ings returned the kickoff for a touchdown. A failed two-point conversion made it 35-31.
After the Soul couldn’t convert on a fourth down, the Storm would take the lead when Kennedy handed off to Ings, who dived into the end zone for a touchdown. The Storm led 37-35 after three.
The Soul would retake the lead when Raudabaugh found Reynolds for his third touchdown of the night. The Soul defense finally stepped up when Dwayne Hollis intercepted a Kennedy pass and returned it for a touchdown to make the score 49-37.
The Storm would close the gap with a touchdown from Kennedy to Toliver. On the ensuing onside kick, Reynolds took the onside kick and returned it the short distance for a Soul touchdown.
The Storm’s chances of a comeback were too little, too late. The Soul would go on to win the game by a final score of 56-51.
The Storm will stay at home to take on the Portland Steel next week. The Soul have a bye week next week, giving them time to prepare for their game against the Orlando Predators on July 30.