Former Mountaineer Kent Richardson had one of the best seasons in the Arena League this season and one of the best in Philadelphia Soul history. He broke a team record and led the league in interceptions and was in the Top 10 defensively in four other categories. This week, he won the award for Defensive Back of the Year in the Arena League. He is one of the favorites to win the overall Defensive Player of the Year.
Richardson faced former teammate, and close friend, Scooter Berry last weekend as the Soul defeated the Jacksonville Sharks handily to advance to the Arena Bowl.
“We knew if we went out and played the way we were capable of playing we would get the job done,” Richardson told us after the game. “We did just that.”
The Soul jumped on top of the Sharks early and went on to win 89-34. Richardson had two tackles in the game.
The game was televised nationally on the NFL Network. Many of the players in the Arena League never played before in front of such a large audience. Richardson played in four bowl games with the Mountaineers and many nationally televised games. It was a setting he was somewhat accustomed to.
“Being on the NFL Network did cross my mind before the game,” he said. “It’s an exciting feeling to know that you get to play at a high level on National television.”
In the game, although Berry and Richardson play on defense and don’t line up across from each other, they did have a chance to come in contact with each other.
“I got to speak with Scooter before and after the game,” said Richardson, “there actually was a point in the game where he had to block me on a kickoff return. I told him he had a great season and good luck with going to another league [more on that early next week]. He definitely deserves it, and he pretty much said the same thing to me as well, wishing me luck in the Arena Bowl.”
Now, Richardson and the Soul will face the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Bowl in New Orléans tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The two teams did not face each other during the regular season, but Richardson says that doesn’t change the team’s preparation for the game.
“We are preparing for Arizona just like we prepare for any other team: out-score them on offense, create turnovers on defense and don’t give up anything cheap.
“Winning this championship would mean a lot,” he continued. “I haven’t won [a championship] since the Car Care Bowl against NC because we lost my Senior Year in the Gator Bowl to FSU. In addition to that, it would mean a lot because not many people can say they have won Championships on any level. That’s a big deal in itself”
Whether or not Richardson and the Soul win a Championship, he has made one thing clear this season: he is a standout on defense and might be ready for a shot at the next level.
“I have progressively been getting contacted from different leagues (NFL, CFL). They’re showing strong interest, but they want me to finish out this season first and get that Ring! So I’m excited to see what is in store after the Arena Bowl.
“I’m sure it’s going to be good!”