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Team Effort Drives Soul to Victory

Jason Moyer
Monday February 6, 2006

The Philadelphia Soul used a total team effort to defeat the visiting Los Angeles Avengers 47-33 Sunday at the Wachovia Center. Matt Sauk replaced an injured Tony Graziani, solid defense, and exciting special team plays allowed the Soul to improve to 2-0 for the first time in team history.

Soul quarterback Graziani went down on the first drive of the game. Avenger’s lineman Silas Demary bulled his way into Philadelphia’s backfield knocked Graziani to the turf jamming his hand and dislocating his left index finger.

"It was popping in and out," explained Head Coach Bret Munsey. "He had that tape on it and I didn’t want to risk it. He made the decision not to go, that was unselfish on his part.

Matt Sauk entered the game and completed his first pass to Mike Brown for an 18-yard touchdown for the Soul.

"In Arena football, you don’t see a quarterback go down often," observed Sauk. "Tony gets all the reps and I run the scout team at practice. It was a little rough."

When asked about being forced to use his backup quarterback Coach Munsey stated, "You look at Matt Sauk’s record, it’s documented that he’s a winner. I had him in af2, he’s been to ArenaCup a couple of times, and been MVP. Bottom line is we feel comfortable with him in the game."

Philadelphia’s defense also impressed for the second week in a row led by a ferocious pass rush. The Soul recorded four sacks in the game and produced a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

"The best is yet to come," said an excited Munsey. "We got four guys up front that can rush the passer as good as anyone. That’s what we rely on. That’s where we spent our money salary cap wise. It’s nice to see them making plays."

Special teams also played a big role in the victory. Todd France kicked a season long 51-yard field goal, while Mike Brown and Kevin Gaines teamed up for a touchdown return off of a Remy Hamilton missed field goal attempt.

Brown fielded the ball off the net and returned it to his own 20-yard line where he pitched the ball to Gaines who took it the rest of the way giving the Soul a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

"Mike Brown is a high energy guy that likes to play. That’s what he brings to this city and organization," commented Munsey. "He’s fun to watch. Until he fumbles it, I love it."

Inside the numbers
Matt Sauk (PHI) completed 17 of 29 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns on his way to Offensive Player of the Game.

Marcus Knight (PHI) led the team with six receptions for 70 yards and a highlight reel one handed touchdown.

Eddie Moten (PHI) recorded six solo tackles, two pass break-ups, and an interception to be named Defensive Player of the Game.

Kevin Ingram (LA) earned Ironman of the Game honors as he hauled in eight passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns before being ejected late in the fourth quarter.

Attendance: 15,732

Graziani update
"We popped it back in and splinted it," said Team Physician David Rubenstein. "We’ll see how he does over the next few days to see if he can play next week."

Next week
Philadelphia heads to Orlando to take on Bret Munsey’s former team. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 7:30pm. The game can be seen tape delayed on Comcast Sportsnet at 10:30.

Jason Moyer is an elementary school teacher in the western New Jersey area. He is an avid follower of the Arena Football League and has been covering the Philadelphia Soul with since 2005. Jason resides in Whitehall, PA with his wife and daughter.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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