Facing off against the defending Arena League Champs the Washington Valor gave a valiant effort but fell to the Philadelphia Soul 49-31. “Our whole thing is 21 guys, have to play a whole 60 minutes” head coach Dean Cokinos, said after suffering their first loss in the history of the franchise. After winning against their cross-town rival the Baltimore Brigade two weeks ago 51-38, the Valor looked to win make a statement along with taking first place in the Arena Football League standings.
On superhero night, the Valor came out on their first drive against the Soul fearlessly as Quarterback Erik Meyer found WR Mike Washington, who finished the game with 9 receptions and 125 yards for a 30 yard pass on the fly, 3 plays later Coach Cokinos and the Valor staff would sub in Bernard Morris to execute a QB sneak at the goal line to give them first points of the game. It was also the Valor defense that asserted their stance early in the game after defensive back Tracy Belton jumped the screen pass that Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh had intended for his receiver and briskly trotted into the end zone for a 8 yard TD. Belton who played for the Soul last year had an advantage on knowing what type of plays the Soul were planning to run in the game. “I had a beat on what they were going to do,” Belton said. “It was tough playing against them but it was like practice”
Not down for too long tho the defending Champs answered back against Belton and the Valor Secondary as Raudabaugh threw one of five touchdown passes to WR Darius Reynolds for 34 yards to cut it a TD lead. On the next possession Valor QB, Meyer would find Washington again in the end zone after the ball was tipped into his hands from an intended pass.
Going into the 2nd Quarter everything looked “uup up and away” for the Valor but the Soul would end the half on a 28-3 run. One of the reasons why this run occurred was due in part to the great field position the Soul took advantage off of turnovers, one a fumble recovery and the other an Interception thrown by Meyer. The big break occurred for the Soul after a missed FG attempt by Valor K TC Stevens bounced off the upright and was take all the way back to the house for a TD by the Soul’s James Romain, that play gave the Soul the lead for the first time in the game 28-24
The Valor answered back quickly with a 12-yard strike to Meyer to Washington to give them the lead at 31-28 half.
In the 2nd half, the Valor offense seemed to run out of superpowers. DC’s struggle to score TD’s awarded them only 3 points in the 2nd half and with two interceptions thrown in the red zone by Meyer, The Soul once again didn’t waiver on their opportunity to get more points. Raundaugh found Reynolds and Shaun Kauleinamoku twice to end the game on 21-3 run and seal the reigning champ’s victory over the Valor. “We started out really lethargic the 2nd half” WR Mike Washington said on the loss.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot…we didn’t really execute offensively.” Despite the loss, Washington was still optimistic about the offense’s overall production, “it’s just a matter of getting a rhythm for each other and the more we gel with each other it’ll start to be more like clock work.
Next up for the Valor will be the Cleveland Gladiators in Ohio next Saturday.