Sometime between the probable end of the Phillies-Cards NLDS rematch and NBC’s nightly medal countdown, the Soul will go for its own version of the gold Friday night in New Orleans. That’s where they’ll take on the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXV, the very site where they claimed the 2008 title.
Due to the NFL Network’s decision to air Tim Tebow’s first preseason game with the Jets, the game won’t start until 10:30 p.m.
For Soul coach Doug Plank, his time to win an ArenaBowl is long overdue. This will be his fourth trip to the “big game,” the first three — 2002, 2003, 2004 — coming when he served as Arizona’s defensive coordinator under former Cowboys quarterback Danny White.
But with an offense scoring at a track-meet pace —the Soul romped past Jacksonville 89-34 in last week’s conference championship — Plank likes his chances. The team is led by quarterback Dan Raudabaugh (115 touchdown passes), running back Derrick Ross (37 TDs) and receivers Donovan Morgan, Jeff Hughley and Larry Brackins.
“This is the most talented team I have ever had the pleasure to work with,’’ said Plank. “They’re the most gifted athletes, so I feel good about going into this game with those guys.’”
Still, he knows all too well there are no guarantees. What the 59-year-old Plank didn’t know was that living in Arizona and attending several Rattlers games might pay off a year later.
“When I lived in Arizona and went to all those games, I didn’t realize I was scouting,” laughed Plank, whose team has won 10 straight going back to mid-May. “Their quarterback [Nick Davila] makes good decisions. We’ll have to be ready for anything.”