The Baltimore Brigade (4-6) handed the Philadelphia Soul (10-1) their first loss of the season, 49-42, Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena. Brigade DB and Defensive Player of the Game Varmah Sonie batted away a fourth-down pass on the game-sealing defensive stand with less than five seconds left on the clock. Baltimore QB Shane Carden was named MVP for his performance, completing 20-32 passes for 271 yards and six total touchdowns.
"It's a huge win for our team and our organization,” said Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith. “It's a huge win, it's the biggest win in the Brigade's short history.”
Defense dominated the opening quarter as Soul WR Darius Reynolds’ 47-yard catch-and-run from QB Dan Raudabaugh stood as the only scoring of the opening frame. Baltimore wasted no time in the second, however, scoring in just two plays when FB Rory Nixon punched it in after WR Brandon Thompkins took a Carden pass 44 yards to the one-yard line. The Soul would answer, scoring on a short pass to WR Shaun Kauleinamoku to regain a seven-point lead, 14-7. The teams traded scores on the ensuing drives. Philadelphia struck once more before the end of the half, again on a Raudabaugh-to-Reynolds connection, giving the Soul a 28-14 lead. Baltimore would respond, as WR Paul Browning came down with a spectacular touchdown catch, falling over the wall, on a 41-yard heave from Carden as time expired. The Brigade trailed 28-21 at half.
The Brigade cashed in on their first drive of the second half as Carden found Thompkins for an 18-yard score, knotting the score at 28 apiece. The tie was short-lived, as Philadelphia FB Mykell Benson took a handoff at the one-yard line into the end zone on the next drive. Carden answered with his third touchdown pass of the night, finding a wide-open WR Brandon Collins for a 42-yard score, bringing the game to a 35-35 tie. After recovering their own kickoff, Baltimore took its first lead of the game, 42-35, thanks to WR Milton Williams’s four-yard score by way of Carden. The Brigade struck first in the final quarter on Carden’s fifth touchdown pass of the game, establishing their first two-score advantage of the game, a 49-35 lead, with just under six minutes remaining in the game. After a Philadelphia score, Carden was intercepted by Soul DB Dwayne Hollis, giving Philadelphia a chance to tie. The Brigade defense held strong and stopped the Soul’s attack just short of the end zone, giving Baltimore a 49-42 victory and handing Philadelphia its first loss of the season.
KEY MOMENT: As time expired in the first half, Brigade QB Shane Carden scrambled out of the pocket and found WR Paul Browning, falling over the wall, for a 41-yard touchdown pass, bringing Baltimore back within one score.
MVP: BAL QB #6 Shane Carden – 20-32 passing, 271 yards and six total touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL WR #14 Brandon Thompkins – six receptions, 93 yards and a touchdown
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB #10 Varmah Sonie – eight tackles, one interception and two pass break-ups
The Brigade are back at Royal Farms Arena next weekend, hosting the Tampa Bay Storm on Sat. July 15 at 7 p.m. It will be the third-and-final matchup between the two teams this season.
BRIGADE HEAD COACH OMARR SMITH
On the game:
“To be able to beat the team with the best record – they're 10-0 – a team that's been together for a long time, is huge. It's really important for us to build some confidence, and this was possibly a turning point in our season. Hopefully that is the case, but it's an extremely, extremely huge win and I'm really proud for our players and our staff that put in tireless hours to try to get us on the right path.”
On the home crowd's support:
"It's great. We feed off that. Now that we've got a couple wins at home, hopefully we can get more fans and we can slowly build this; brick by brick by brick. It's a great sports town and we are trying to win some games. It's great to get that energy from the crowd."
BRIGADE DEFENSIVE BACK VARMAH SONIE
On the win:
“It was a big win for us. We believe as a group that we were going to go in and run the game. We just put together a couple big stops on defense and that helped a lot. We got the victory and we are happy with that.”
On the energy in the game:
“It’s the home crowd. Just them having our backs every time we play in this building – it’s electric. They get us going. So, just a big shoutout to the home crowd.”