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Power pulls plug on Soul in Pittsburgh, 65-57

Saturday May 3, 2014

 Grady, Wright Help Pittsburgh Snap Philadelphia’s Winning Streak

PITTSBURGH (May 3, 2014) – The Philadelphia Soul (3-4) fell behind early and mounded a comeback, but did not have answer for the Tommy Grady-to-Rodney Wright connection as the Pittsburgh Power (4-3) outlasted Philadelphia, 65-57 at the CONSOL Energy Center on Saturday night in front of 5,321 fans.

“We need to play a more consistent game in all areas,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We can’t be making the same mistakes. Defensively, we need to make stops on third and fourth down – and we didn’t do that tonight. Offensively, we came out flat and had to play catch up for most of the game. You can’t do that and expect to win.”

Tiger Jones finished with four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Ryan McDaniel added five catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. V’Keon Lacey had three receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown, while Derrick Ross added two receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Ross also had 10 yards rushing with two touchdowns on the ground.

QB Dan Raudabaugh finished the night by completing 17-of-25 passes for 308 yards and five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Defensively, James Romain led the team with 8.5 total tackles and two pass breakups. LaRico Stevenson had 5.5 total tackles and a forced fumble and newcomer Jerome Williams Jr. had 3.5 total tackles and a fumble recovery.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Pittsburgh’s Grady finished by completing 32-of-45 passes for 316 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. AFL Playmaker of the Game, Rodney Wright, had 16 receptions for 163 yards and five touchdowns.

The Power got on the board first when Grady found Hank Edwards on a 5-yard touchdown pass and led 7-0. Raudabaugh quickly responded with a one-play, 37-yard scoring strike to McDaniel to tie the score up at 7-7. Grady would respond when he connected with Wright on a 12-yard scoring pass to give the Power a 14-7 lead with 6:47 left in the first. The Soul would answer at the 3:07 mark when Ross punched it in from a yard out and tied the score again at 14-14. The Power ended the quarter when Grady found rookie Tyrone Goard on a 30-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 advantage after the first quarter.

A turning point in the game came when the Power striped Raudabaugh on the first possession of the second quarter and capitalized when Grady hit Shawn Kauleinamoku on a 25-yard touchdown strike and improve the Power lead to 28-14. The Pittsburgh defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs on the next Soul series and finished it off when Wright hauled in a 4-yard touchdown from Grady and gave the Power a 35-14 lead.

The Soul got back on track when Raudabaugh led the offense down the field and connected with Lacey on a 13-yard pass to narrow the score to 35-21. The Power caught a break when off-setting penalties gave Power kicker Julian Rauch a second attempt after he missed a 21-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. The Power led 38-21 at the half.

The Soul mounted their comeback when they came out of the locker room and scored on their first drive when Raudabaugh hit McDaniel on a 27-yard touchdown strike to make it 38-28. Philadelphia’s LaRico Stevenson then striped Wright on the following kick return to give the Soul the turnover, but it proved to be costly. During the play, McDaniel had his ankle rolled over on. As the play continued, McDaniel pushed and shoved with a closed hand that the officials interpreted as a thrown punch and ejected him from the game. The Soul failed to capitalize on that possession and turned it back over on downs. Wright and Taggart added third quarter touchdowns for the Power, while Jones added one for the Soul. The Power held a 51-35 advantage after three quarters.

Philadelphia would go on to outscore Pittsburgh 22-14 in the fourth quarter. The highlight for the Soul came when James Romain returned a kickoff for a 58-yard touchdown. Jones and Ross also added scores in the final quarter, but the Power got the East Division victory, 65-57, by running the clock out.

The Philadelphia Soul will head home to face the New Orleans VooDoo for Week 9 on Saturday, May 10 at 7 p.m at the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be seen on the CBS Sports Network.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Pittsburgh’s Tommy Grady
Riddell Defensive Player: Pittsburgh’s Arvell Nelson
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Pittsburgh’s Rodney Wright
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: Pittsburgh’s Shawn Kauleinamoku
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Pittsburgh’s Tyrone Goard

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL

The Back-to-Back American Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul are presented by Parx Casino. They capped their eighth Arena Football League season by capturing their second straight American Conference championship. For 2014 season 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.