Consider them the Philadelphia arena football version of a dream team.
The Philadelphia Soul pounded the Jacksonville Sharks, 89-34, on Friday night to advance to the second ArenaBowl in franchise history. The Sharks were the reigning ArenaBowl champions.
The Soul will play the winner of Saturday night’s Utah-Arizona battle in the ArenaBowl championship on Friday night in New Orleans.
The Soul won 13 of their 16 regular season games this season, losing two of their three games by just a single point, and cruised to a championship appearance despite losing arguably their best player, Tiger Jones, to the Philadelphia Eagles.
That’s right. In a story that rivals Vince Papale‘s tale of the 1970s, the Philadelphia Eagles contacted the Soul about star wide receiver Tiger Jones, inviting him to training camp. As a result, Jones left the Soul so that he would not risk an injury to himself, which would undoubtedly end his chance at a career with the Eagles. The 30-year old wide receiver is appearing in his first NFL training camp in seven years (2005 with the Washington Redskins) and remains a long shot to make the team.
In Friday night’s blowout victory over Jacksonville, it was wide receiver Larry Brackins, a fifth round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005, who turned in one of the greatest games by a Soul player in franchise history. He scored eight touchdowns, five through the air, two on the ground, and one on a kick return.
The Soul defense dominated in the first half, at one point forcing five straight turnovers, which is unprecedented in the Arena Football League.
The Soul are currently riding a ten-game winning streak and will look for their second championship in less than a week.
In 2008, the Soul capitalized on a 13-3 regular season and a dominant postseason run to advance to the ArenaBowl, where they edged out the San Jose SaberCats in a thrilling 59-56 battle to capture their first championship. The team disbanded in 2009 and 2010 but returned in 2011 under a new head coach, Mike Hohensee, and are back in the championship in just their second season.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.