Sunday, May 27, 2012

Soul earn big win in Cleveland

CLEVELAND  – The Philadelphia Soul (8-3) used a 20-0 run in the third quarter to pull away and take control of the East Division by beating the Cleveland Gladiators (6-4), 55-33, in front of 4,737 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday.

“This was a big comeback game for us,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “All facets of the game – offense, defense and special teams – we improved on from the previous week.  I am pleased that we stayed focused and stuck to our game plan when it could have been easy not to.”

Philadelphia’s QB Dan Raudabaugh finished by connecting on 20-of-34 passes for 157 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.  Leading the receivers were Donovan Morgan with nine receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns.  Tiger Jones had seven receptions for 58 yards and three touchdowns, while Zipp Duncan with three receptions for 8 yards and Jeff Hughley added a 7-yard touchdown.  

Leading the way defensively were Bryan Robinson with a blocked kick and a sack, while teammates Justin Warren and Dustin Barno applied pressure all night.  Newly-acquired DB LaRico Stevenson added 3.0 total tackles and a fumble recovery.

The Gladiators got things started when QB John Dutton found Robert Redd on a 15-yard scoring strike, but a missed extra point made the score, 6-0.  The Soul answered when Raudabaugh connected with Jones from 18 yards out and gave Philadelphia a 7-6 lead to end the first quarter.

After stopping the Gladiators on down and forcing a field goal on consecutive possessions, the Soul extended the lead to 21-6 on a pair of Raudabaugh to Jones touchdowns.  Cleveland answered with a Dutton to Dominic Goodman to narrow the score to 21-12.  Cleveland DB Levy Brown then intercepted Raudabaugh and returned it for 20 yards for the touchdown.  Cleveland came up with a big stop to end the first half and kept Ross out of the endzone as time expired with the Soul leading, 21-19.

The Soul open the second half with a five-play, 45 yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run for a 28-19 lead.  On the following Gladiator drive, Philadelphia’s Justin Warren forced a fumble that was recovered by LaRico Stevenson and capitalized by the offense when Raudabaugh hit Morgan on  an 11-yard touchdown and increasing the lead to 34-19.

The Soul defense stepped up again in the third quarter when Bryan Robinson made a huge sack of Dutton on fourth down that gave the Soul possession.  The Soul outscored the Gladiators 20-0 in the third quarter.

With the game well in hand, in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia got a touchdown run from Ross and a 12-yard touchdown from Morgan for a final score of 55-33.

The Soul will return home next Saturday when they host the Orlando Predators (1-9) at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
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