Sunday, June 08, 2008

Soul edge Desperados; Graziani hurt again

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Soul

Dallas, TX (June 7) -- Wide receiver Chris Jackson scored six touchdowns and Brent Holmes made two critical plays in the final minute, as the Philadelphia Soul chalked up a critical road win, 71-64, against the Dallas Desperados Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.

The win improved Philadelphia’s record to 11-3, lifting the Soul into a tie with Dallas atop the Eastern Division standings. With the victory, Philadelphia completed a sweep of the regular season series and would have homefield advantage throughout the National Conference playoffs as long as the team wins out or finishes in a tie was Dallas at season’s end. Both teams, which had previously clinched playoff berths, have two games remaining this season.

In the final minute of the game, Holmes forced a fumble on a kickoff return and then made a 10-yard sideline grab for a first down to clinch the result. Clifton Smith recovered the fumble for Philadelphia.

The Soul host the Cleveland Gladiators (8-6) in their final regular-season home game Saturday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at the Wachovia Spectrum. The regular season finale comes Sunday afternoon, June 22, against the New York Dragons (8-6) at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Dallas meets the Dragons this coming weekend and closes out the regular season against the Chicago Fire (10-4).

The see-saw battle featured three ties and 12 lead changes as the teams waged what may be a playoff preview. In the first half, Philadelphia’s offensive fireworks included four of Jackson’s touchdown receptions. Dallas countered with two return touchdowns, a 19-yard interception return by Bobby Perry and a kickoff return by Bush.

Tony Graziani returned as starting quarterback for the Soul but suffered a concussion in the first half and Matt D’Orazio was effective again in relief, scoring once himself on a six-yard run.

Graziani finished 8-of-12 passing with three of the touchdown tosses to Jackson. D’Orazio competed 19-of-23 passes for 183 yards and five touchdowns.

Dallas quarterback Clint Dolezel was 21-of-28 for 277 yards with four touchdowns.

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