Soul clinches East with victory in Cleveland, 66-57
Saturday June 29, 2013
Philadelphia Earns Second Consecutive Divisional Crown, Host First-Round Playoff
CLEVELAND (June 29, 2013) – The Philadelphia Soul (9-5), behind an outstanding team effort and Dan Raudabaugh, clinched the East Division against the Cleveland Gladiators (2-12) in front of 7,909 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night. The victory also assures that the Soul will host a first round playoff game with the date to be determined.
“This was a collective effort from top to bottom,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “Dan had an outstanding game, but there were many guys that stepped up when we had injuries during the game. Collectively, we stayed focused and played a complete game. It’s a divisional title and the entire team deserves to be proud of this victory.”
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Dan Raudabaugh finished his night by connecting on an impressive 25-of-28 passes for 285 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.
Tiger Jones led Soul receivers with nine receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown, while J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker of the Game, Andre Thurman had seven catches for 113 yards and three receiving touchdowns and a 55-yard kickoff return for a fourth score. Ryan McDaniel added seven receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns and Larry Brackins added an onsides kick return for a score for the final Soul touchdown.
Derrick Ross recorded 37 rushing yards on eight carries and one rushing touchdown. The touchdown was Ross’ 100th of his AFL career.
Defensively, LaRico Stevenson recorded 7.5 total tackles and an interception that earned the Cutter’s Catch of the Game. Rayshaun Kizer added 7.0 total tackles, Calvin Fance tallied 4.0 total tackles, a forced fumble and a sack, while Joe Goosby added 2.5 total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Cleveland was led by QB Chris Dieker, who finished 27-of-41 for 339 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception. Dominick Goodman led the Gladiator receivers with 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Soul began the scoring with a 5-play, 45-yard drive that was capped by a Ross 3-yard run to give Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. Cleveland would answer with a score of its own when Dieker found Carlese Franklin for a 42-yard score and tie it up at 7-7. Raudabaugh connected with McDaniel and Thurman on consecutive scores to give the Soul a 21-7 lead after the first quarter.
Cleveland responded with a pair of Dieker rushing touchdowns to narrow the score to 21-20 Philadelphia advantage. But, three scores by Jones, Thurman and McDaniel helped the Soul take a 42-30 halftime lead. Part of the Soul’s first half success can be credited to Raudabaugh who did not throw his first incompletion until his 18th pass of the game.
A low scoring third quarter as the Soul’s lone score in the period came when Thurman took a kickoff after the Gladiators narrowed the score to 42-37. Thurman’s return extended the lead to 49-37 and ended the third quarter scoring.
Cleveland outscored Philadelphia 20-17 in the final quarter, but it proved to be too little, too late as the Soul come away with the 66-57 victory. The Soul will return home next weekend when the Central Division-leading Chicago Rush come to town on Saturday, July 6 at Wells Fargo Center at 7:05 p.m.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia’s Dan Raudabaugh
Riddell Defensive Player: Cleveland’s Brandon Anderson
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Philadelphia’s Andre Thurman
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: Philadelphia’s LaRico Stevenson’s interception in the first half.
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Cleveland’s Carlese Franklin touchdown in the first quarter.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL
The Philadelphia Soul are presented by Parx Casino. They capped their seventh Arena Football League season by capturing the 2012 American Conference championship. The Soul will return home next weekend when the Central Division-leading Chicago Rush come to town on Saturday, July 6 at Wells Fargo Center at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, contact the Soul sales department at (215) 253-4900 ext. 3, or request contact from a representative by filling out the form on www.philadelphiasoul.com. Follow the Soul on Facebook at facebook.com/soul and Twitter at twitter.com/soulfootball.