Darius Prince, the Soul wideout who spent some time with the Eagles last preseason, reminded Arena Football League fans that he, not Quentin Sims, should be considered the most dangerous receiver.
Prince scored three touchdowns as the Soul beat the Albany Empire, 54-43, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center to improve to 6-4. With the win, the Soul clinched their eighth straight playoff berth.
Facing a tough Albany defense, the Soul scored eight touchdowns in as many red zone trips as quarterback Dan Raudabaugh passed for 231 yards and seven touchdowns.
“We were kind of in shell shock at the beginning of the game. We just didn’t start fast,” said Soul coach Clint Dolezel. “Once we settled in, things started going a little smoother.”
At 8-2, the Empire have the best record in the league, but they looked out of sorts on both sides of the ball on Saturday.
The Soul got off to a slow start following an interception on their opening drive. However, thanks to two scores by Prince and a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch from BJ Bunn, they entered the half trailing by just one point at 21-20.
“Our first two series on defense, we looked bad,” said Soul defensive lineman Sean Daniels. “We were stuck on our blocks. We weren’t getting off. We came in the locker room and we made an emphasis to get to the quarterback. That’s what we pride ourselves on the past two games.”
Sparked by Daniels’ sack of Tommy Grady early in the third period, the Soul slowly took charge of the game and grabbed their first lead, 27-21, after another TD catch by Prince late in the period. The Soul outscored Albany by 14-0 in the third quarter.
"That wasn’t just my sack. That was the whole D-line,” Daniels said. “We had been plugging at him that whole third quarter. All I did was run up the field. It could have been any one of us.”
The victory was Dolezel’s 94th in the Arena Football League, breaking a tie with Redskins coach Jay Gruden for seventh most in league history.