03/18/2012 7:51 PM
A game-winning field goal attempt by the New Orleans VooDoo was blocked in the final seconds, giving the Philadelphia Soul a nail-biting 63-62 victory in both teams’ season opener. Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw seven touchdowns, and no interceptions for the game, cementing his status as one of the league’s elite signal-callers. He began the game at a blistering pace, as the Soul scored nearly at will on the revamped VooDoo defense – quieting the Graveyard crowd. Early touchdown passes to receivers Jeff Hughley, Donovan Morgan and two to Tiger Jones gave the Soul a commanding 28-13 lead midway through the second quarter. But the VooDoo wouldn’t go away. The teams resolve, under new Head Coach Pat O’Hara, was on full display, as they battled back to take the lead, behind a new quarterback of their own in New Orleans – Kurt Rocco. In his first game since moving from Cleveland, Rocco threw for over 300 yards, six touchdows, and no interceptions, matching Raudabaugh score for score. Fullback Joe Alajajian added threw rushing touchdowns in support, while wide receiver Quorey Payne grabbed ten catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Yet with all the scoring, the game came down to the final minutes, where the Soul took the lead on a late touchdown grab by wide receiver Donovan Morgan, who gave the Soul the one-point lead with 15 seconds left in the game. Rocco attempted to mount a comeback, but after two incomplete passes, the VooDoo brought on the kicker for a game-winning try. Soul Defensive lineman Justin Barno, who had disrupted the VooDoo blocking schemes on several occasions, was up for the challenge, and recovered the blocked kick. The Soul relished in their tough victory away from Philadelphia, and the VooDoo came inches short. Either way, the real winners, were the fans.
NEW ORLEANS – It was a record-setting night for Philadelphia Soul wide receiver/kick returner Jeff Hughley, but it was a last-second blocked 40-yard field goal by the Soul’s Bryan Robinson that sealed a season-opening, 63-62, victory for the Philadelphia Soul (1-0) over the New Orleans VooDoo (0-1) in front of 5,307 fans at the New Orleans Arena on Sunday night.
“We are excited to get the victory, but we know there are things that we need to work on for next week,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank. “The good news is that they are all correctable mistakes, but that doesn’t take away from the huge game that Jeff (Hughley) had tonight.”
Hughley, who was named the National Guard MVP, Offensive, Ironman and Playmaker of the Game by the media, set the team’s single-game record for all-purpose yards (357) and kickoff return yards (265), while tying the record for most kickoff returns (10) in a single game.
Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh finished by connecting on 22-of-30 passes for 310 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Leading the receiving corps for the Soul was Tiger Jones with 10 receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns, while Donovan Morgan had eight receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Hughley added four catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 265 return yards and a return touchdown.
New Orleans quarterback Kurt Rocco led the VooDoo by connecting on 25-of-39 passes for 314 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Wide receiver Quorey Payne was New Orleans’ leading receiver with 10 receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
The Soul started the scoring on their first drive when Raudabaugh found Jones on a 7-yard scoring pass to take a 7-0 lead. After a defensive stop on the VooDoo’s first drive Raudabaugh connected with Morgan on a 13-yard pass play to take a 14-0 lead and finished the first quarter up 14-6.
Raudabaugh added a touchdown strike to Hughley and another to Jones and went into the halftime leading 28-20.
Hughley had a 54-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter to give the Soul a 42-34 lead. The teams continued to exchange scores through the third quarter and into the fourth until New Orleans’ Rocco connected with L.J. Castile with 13:33 remaining in the contest to give the VooDoo their first lead of the game, 48-42.
Fourth quarter touchdowns by Hughley, Derrick Ross and the final score by Morgan with 17 seconds remaining to set up the dramatic finish. The VooDoo thought they had the game-winning catch when Payne failed to hold on to the ball in the endzone with three seconds left, which forced New Orleans to attempt a 40-yard field goal by kicker Josh Shene for the win.
After a good snap and hold, Soul defensive lineman Bryan Robinson broke through and blocked the kick and the clock ran out and gave the Soul the 63-62 victory.
The side story of the game was the Soul’s penalties and turnovers. Philadelphia committed 12 penalties to New Orleans’ two, while the Soul fumbled twice and the VooDoo did not fumble.
The Soul travel to face the Eastern Division rival Pittsburgh Power next Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center. The game will be shown on NFL Network.
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans VooDoo took the Philadelphia Soul down to the wire, having a chance to win on a last second field goal, but it was blocked as the Soul defeated the VooDoo 63-62 in The Graveyard on Sunday afternoon.
The team had a total of 53 plays for 363 yards and zero turnovers, which made head coach Pat O’Hara proud.
“I’m very pleased with how our players fought today. They played hard and I’m happy with their effort. It was a tough loss, but they will learn from their mistakes and effort. We know that we will have to work with special teams,” said O’Hara in post-game interviews.
Kurt Rocco completed 25 out of 39 passes with a total of 314 yards. He also had 6 touchdowns, feeling more comfortable with each offensive series.
“I felt more comfortable as the game went on and was satisfied on how open our wide receivers were,” added Rocco.
Quorey Payne led the all VooDoo receivers with 10 receptions for a total of 130 yards and hauled in 3 touchdowns. Josh Bush also had a great VooDoo debut with two touchdowns while L.J. Castile added one of his own.
The Soul’s offense was the first to put points on the scoreboard when they started the game off with a touchdown on the first drive of the game. They snagged another touchdown the next time they got their hands on the ball, building a 14-0 lead.
The VooDoo came right back when quarterback Kurt Rocco rushed for 5 yards to Philadelphia’s 3-yard line, and Joe Alajajian finished the play off when he crossed the goal line on the next play. The extra point attempt was missed by kicker Joshua Shene to make the score at the end of the first quarter 14-6.
Alajajian would score again to start off the second quarter for a 2-yard touchdown run, but the following drive Soul quarterback Dan Raudabuagh completed a 35-yard touchdown to Tiger Jones. With the score being 28-13, the VooDoo fought back when Payne scored on a 22-yard pass to make the score 28-20 at halftime.
The VooDoo thrilled the crowd when Bush caught a 33-yard pass from Rocco to start off the third quarter to make it a one-score game.
The team would have a 62-56 lead with 1:02 remaining in the game, but Donovan Morgan would soon end that lead for the VooDoo when he scored a 2-yard touchdown pass to make the score 63-62.
The VooDoo had a chance to steal the win, but Shene’s 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Bryan Robinson.
The next matchup for the New Orleans VooDoo will be this Friday, March 23 in The Graveyard against the Milwaukee Mustangs. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Post-game notes: False start on 4th down conversion on first offensive possession- 4th down conversion falls incomplete for VooDoo; only turnover on downs for the VooDoo in the game… 4:31 in 2nd quarter – 1st passing TD for VooDoo on the season (Rocco to Payne, 22 yards)… 1:16 in 2nd – 1st turnover of the game- fumble recovered by VooDoo… On 3- yard line VooDoo run the ball failing to score and running out the final 9 seconds of the first half in the process… Soul QB Dan Raudbuagh completed all his passes in 2nd quarter (6-6)… Donovan Morgan targeted on 8 of 15 passes for Soul thru halftime… At the end of the first half Soul had 7 penalties while VooDoo had 1… VooDoo score on 1st play of 2nd half with a touchdown pass from Rocco to Bush (33 yards)… Greg Ellingson first professional career catch 7:00 in 3rd quarter... Joe Alajajian tied VooDoo record with 3 rushing touchdowns in one game (Dan Curran 5/15/2004)... Jeff Hughley's kickoff returned for touchdown was first against the VooDoo since 06/24/2007 (4:42 in 3rd)... 13:38 VooDoo first lead of game... Roughing the kicker penalty on VooDoo PAT leads to 2-pt conversion attempt-pass interference on Soul on attempt-2-pt good on second try with QB sneak by Kurt Rocco in 4th quarter... VooDoo score more than 61 points for the first time at home since 5/30/08... Through 3 quarters of play, the VooDoo had only 1 penalty and finished with 2 for the game...