Last night the 2016 Philadelphia Soul squad took step No. 1 on their quest for a second ArenaBowl championship, opening the regular season with a decisive 69-41 road victory over the Cleveland Gladiators.
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh proved why he’s the reigning Arena Football League MVP, tossing for 233 yards and seven touchdowns on 21-of-33 passing.
Philadelphia, coming off a disappointing Conference Semifinals loss to Cleveland a season ago, got off to a quick start in last night’s showdown, moving down the field and putting up three touchdowns in the opening quarter. Raudabaugh hit Darius Reynolds, Ryan McDaniel and Shaun Kauleinamoku for first-quarter TDs, and Philly never looked back.
Reynolds, in his first game in a Soul uniform, caught a touchdown in each of the first three quarters of play, and finished the game with eight catches for 79 yards and the trio of TDs. Reynolds, assigned to the Soul on February 5, is one of many weapons Raudabaugh will have at his disposal in the passing game this year. Shaun Kauleinamoku (aka “SK”), entering his second season in Philly, has turned into a viable target for Dan, as he also caught a trio of TDs in Friday night’s season-opening victory.
On defense, Philadelphia picked off opposing quarterback Chris Dieker four times (Dwayne Hollis twice, Joe Goosby and Tracy Belton) and sacked him another two times. On 19-of-35 passing, Dieker managed just 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, and his Gladiators put up a net yards total of 206 (4.4 yards/play) in the 28-point loss in front of the home crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. It was truly a defensive-dominated game for Philadelphia.
Photo: Philadelphia Soul