The Baltimore Brigade beat the Philadelphia Soul, 57-45, Sunday night in the first meeting of a two-game semifinal series. Brigade quarterback Randy Hippeard was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after throwing for 212 yards and seven total touchdowns (six passing, one rushing). Brigade defensive back Joe Powell was named Defensive Player of the Game, totaling 5.5 tackles and one interception.
The Brigade hold a 12-point advantage heading into the second weekend of the AFL postseason. Baltimore hosts Game 2 of the semifinal series, determined by aggregate scoring, against Philadelphia next Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Baltimore raced out to a 27-0 lead in their second postseason game in team history. Hippeard accounted for all four touchdowns in the Baltimore run, including a 36-yarder to wideout Brandon Collins on the game’s opening possession. Philadelphia turned the ball over on downs on their first possession, threw an interception on their second and lost possession on a bar ball midway through the second quarter. Baltimore’s offense, which found the end zone on its first four drives, spread the ball around the field. Hippeard threw three touchdowns to three different receivers (Collins, Demetres Stephens, Brandon Thompkins) and scored another touchdown on the ground. Philadelphia ended the Brigade scoring run with just two seconds left in the first half when quarterback Dan Raudabaugh found wideout Darius Prince, who leads the league in receptions, for a six-yard touchdown pass. Baltimore led, 27-7, at halftime.
Philadelphia worked the deficit down to eight just minutes into the second half. Soul wideout Shaun Kauleinamoku hauled in a Raudabaugh touchdown pass on the first drive of the second half and, just a minute later, Philadelphia defensive back Torez Jones returned a Hippeard interception for a touchdown, cutting the Brigade lead to 27-19. Baltimore put an end to Philadelphia’s momentum when Thompkins returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, giving the Brigade a 34-19 lead and moving him into sixth all-time in AFL history in kickoff return touchdowns. The return was the start of a 21-0 Baltimore run, thanks to another pair of Hippeard touchdown passes and consecutive stops by the Brigade defense. Prince’s third touchdown reception of the night broke the Baltimore scoring run, but the Brigade answered as Hippeard threw his sixth touchdown of the night – this one to wideout Quentin Sims – with just over five minutes left in the game. Prince caught his fourth touchdown of the night on the following possession, but Baltimore intercepted the two-point conversion attempt and returned it for two points of their own, extending their lead to 57-31. Philadelphia scored consecutive touchdowns in the final minute of the game, cutting the lead to 57-45 with just seven seconds left in the game. Baltimore had a chance at a field goal as time expired, but missed off the crossbar, setting the final score at 57-45.
MVP: BAL QB Randy Hippeard – 17/23 passing, 212 passing yards and seven total touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: PHI WR Darius Prince – 11 receptions, 128 yards and four touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB Joe Powell – 5.5 total tackles and one interception