PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Baltimore Brigade fell, 69-54, to the Philadelphia Soul in the 2017 AFL Playoffs: Semifinal Round Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Brigade QB Shane Boyd threw for 324 yards and seven touchdowns, including four to WR Reggie Gray. Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh threw for nine touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.
“We didn’t get it done at the end of the day and that’s disappointing,” Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said postgame. “We played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort and that’s good to see.”
The Brigade won the coin toss and elected to defer until the second half. Philadelphia wasted no time getting on the board first, scoring on the second play from scrimmage when Raudabuagh found WR Darius Reynolds for a 24-yard touchdown, giving the Soul a 7-0 lead. The Brigade answered with a quick drive of their own, which ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Gray, bringing the score to 7-6, Philadelphia. Raudabaugh notched his second score of the day – a four-yard touchdown to WR Shaun Kauleinamoku – giving the Soul a 13-6 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first quarter. Baltimore knotted the game at 13 as Boyd and Gray connected yet again, this time for a 12-yard score with 1:06 left in the opening quarter. Reynolds scored his second touchdown of the game just 46 seconds into the second quarter, giving the Soul a one-score lead. A 37-yard pass to WR Brandon Collins represented Boyd’s fourth passing touchdown of the day, tying the game at 20. Consecutive Philadelphia scores gave the Soul a 34-20 lead at halftime.
A pair of Brigade scores – a 16-yard passing touchdown to Collins and a one-yard rush by Boyd brought the game back within one point, 34-33, with 10:20 left in the third quarter. Reynolds’ third touchdown reception of the night gave Philadelphia a 41-33 lead just under two minutes later. Gray scored his third touchdown of the night, a 47-yarder, with 6:59 left in the third quarter, bringing the game back within one point. The teams traded scores – Reynolds notching another touchdown for the Soul before WR Brandon Thompkins scored his first of the night for the Brigade – setting the score at 48-47, Philadelphia, with 14:18 left in the fourth quarter. Consecutive Soul scores gave Philadelphia a 62-47 lead with just under a minute remaining. Baltimore brought the game back within one score on Gray’s fourth touchdown of the night, but Philadelphia sealed a berth in ArenaBowl XXX with a Reynolds touchdown with just seven seconds remaining, setting the final score at 69-54.
MVP: Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh – 23-35 passing, 324 yards and nine touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Philadelphia WR Darius Reynolds – nine receptions, 171 yards and six touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Philadelphia DB James Romain – five tackles and one interception
BRIGADE HEAD COACH OMARR SMITH
On the game:
We lost. That’s disappointing. We didn’t get it done at the end of the day and that’s disappointing. We played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort and that’s good to see. We expected to win. Philadelphia made some plays. We made them work. It was a battle. In the fourth quarter, we just made too many mistakes. That was the difference in the game.
On the season and the team’s outlook:
The whole thought process was to build a foundation and I think we’ve done that. We have a lot of improving to do. We have to find the right kind of guys to help continue this process. Now that the season is over it’s off to recruiting and trying to build this program to give the city of Baltimore and our ownership something to be proud of.
BRIGADE WIDE RECEIVER REGGIE GRAY
On the game:
I’m proud of the guys. We fought hard. It’s a tough one, especially when we had a few missed opportunities…I’m just proud of the guys.
On the season:
It’s just a building stone. Coach Omarr [Smith] called it “brick by brick” for a reason – it’s just building a solid foundation.
On his future:
I don’t want to be done playing. I love the game. My body is banged up but it’s not career-ending or any type of injuries like that…I’m just going to take a few days and months and think about my decision.