Monday, May 14, 2007

Choppin' Wood; Dragons slay Soul

By Michael Rushton
Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia, PA - For the first 12 seconds, everything looked alright. Then things returned to normal.

When all was said and done, the New York Dragons emerged 69-49 victors over the Soul, sending Philadelphia to its sixth straight loss since beginning the season 4-0. It was a defeat that left the Soul obviously frustrated as the two clubs took a few shots at each other by game’s end.

The Soul put up seven quick points, but then saw the Dragons run off 27 points of their own in the first quarter -- a franchise record for most points allowed in the first quarter. To make matters worse, quarterback Juston Wood left the game with a left knee sprain.

Soul head coach Bret Munsey said after the game Wood is likely done for the season after suffering damage to his ACL. However, injured quarterback Tony Graziani should be back next week, as will wide out Larry Brackins.

Todd France’s kick to begin the game took a Soul bounce off the goal post and was eventually recovered in the end zone by Aric Williams for a quick 7-0 Philly lead.

But when you are on a lengthy losing streak like the Soul are, the bounces don’t stay your way. France’s ensuing kickoff after the score was taken 57 yards by DeShane Dennis and into the end zone to even the game at seven.

Wood did his best, hitting J.J. McKelvey for a score through the air to restore the Soul’s seven-point edge.

However, Dragons quarterback Aaron Garcia threw two straight scoring passes to Mike Horacek -- with New York kicker Carter Warley missing the first point after try -- and Billy Parker intercepted a Wood pass and took it 16 yards to the end zone for a 27-14 New York edge with just over four minutes left in the first.

Garcia picked apart the Soul defense all night, throwing for 264 yards and eight touchdown passes in the win. Four of those went to Kevin Swayne.

“We’re going to go back to the basics of what we did in training camp,” Munsey said. “You know, come back with a new outlook against New Orleans (next week). We’re going to have a gut check. That was ridiculous, it’s embarrassing and I’m not going to put my name on it.”

The scoring didn’t slow down from there, which should not come as a surprise. The last time these two clubs met in Week 5, the Soul recorded a 65-60 win. Coincidentally, that was the last time Philadelphia posted a victory this season.

Wood and Garcia exchanged TD pass throughout the second quarter. Wood, a former Dragon, connected with McKelvey with 55 ticks left until the half for his third scoring pass of the frame to cut the Soul’s deficit to 41-35. However, the Dragon struck once more before the half as Garcia found Swayne on a short pass that the wide out bullied into the end zone with 16 seconds on the clock.

The pass sent New York into the break with a 48-35 lead. The 83 combined points were the most in team history, surpassing the previous mark of 70 set against the Carolina cobras on April 17, 2004.

Wood then suffered his knee injury early in the third, taking a low hit while stepping into a pass. He said he immediately felt a pop and was surprised it wasn’t a penalty.

“The officials say they are going to put an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks and low blows, and that’s one they should go back and look at,” said Wood.

Leon Murray came in and finished off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Charles Pauley. However, the Dragons answered with another TD pass by Garcia for a 55-42 edge.
Wood ended the game with 204 yards passing, one interception and four touchdowns. He completed just 17-od-30 passes, however. Murray threw for 85 yards and a two scores with three interceptions.

The Soul looked to have gotten back within single digits when Murray connected with McKelvey in the end zone, but the play was negated by an offensive pass interference call. Murray was later intercepted on the march.

An interception by Mike Brown, playing for the first time in five weeks due to injury, was later wiped out on a roughing the passer call on the resulting drive, which did come to an end on a New York touchdown that gave the Dragons a 20-point edge. The club never looked back from there.


Anonymous said...

That was absurdly long for a sport no one cares about.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, enough of the Soul coverage. It makes me want to gouge my own eyes out.