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Soul fall to Gladiators on last play, 54-52

Friday May 23, 2014

 Cleveland Scores 33 Points in Fourth Quarter For Comeback Win

CLEVELAND (May 23, 2014) – Cleveland QB Shane Austin found WR Thyron Lewis on an 11-yard touchdown strike with no time on the clock to defeat the Philadelphia Soul (5-5), 54-52, in front of 10,659 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We were able to take advantage of the opportunities early, but you need to do that for all four quarters. We didn’t get it done in the fourth quarter tonight and it cost us.”

Emery Sammons led the Soul receivers with seven receptions for 90 yards and one touchdown. V’Keon Lacey added four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Robert Redd had four receptions for 32 yards, while adding five kickoff returns for 121 yards and a return touchdown. Tiger Jones added three receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. The rushing attack was led by Derrick Ross, who had 44 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Rayshaun Kizer led the Soul defense with 9.0 total tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Joe Goosby added 6.5 total tackles and James Romain had 4.0 total tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

Cleveland (9-0) was led by Shane Austin, who connected on 29-of-46 passes for 345 yards and five touchdowns. The Gladiators leading receiver was Dominic Goodman’s 10 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown. Tyrone Collins had nine catches for 111 yards and one touchdown, while Thyron Lewis added five receptions for 77 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner.

The Soul started off the game scoring on their first series with a 10-yard pass from Raudabaugh to Jones and gave Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled and recovered by the Soul’s Jerome Williams. The Soul took advantage and Ross capped a three-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Soul a 14-0 lead. The Gladiators got on the board when Austin found Tyrone Collins on a 4-yard scoring strike to narrow it to 14-7 advantage for the Soul. Redd then returned the following kickoff 56 yards for the score and a 21-7 lead. Cleveland capped the first quarter scoring when Thyron Lewis hauled in a 15-yard pass from Austin to make it 21-14.

The Soul opened the second quarter scoring when Raudabaugh hit Adam Smith with a 3-yard touchdown pass that capped a 10-play drive and gave Philadelphia a 28-14 advantage. The Soul defense then stepped up and stopped the Gladiators on fourth down, giving the ball back to the offense. Philadelphia then got a 22-yard field goal to give the Soul a 31-14 advantage at the half.

After both defenses force turnovers on downs, the Gladiators opened the second half scoring when Austin rushed in from a yard out to narrow the score to 31-21 with 5:22 left in the third. Philadelphia answered when Raudabaugh found Sammons on a 47-yard strike to push the Soul lead to 38-21 to end the third quarter scoring.

Cleveland opened the final quarter with a Collin Taylor 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 38-28. Raudabaugh then connected with Lacey on a 10-yard touchdown for a 45-28 Soul lead. The Gladiators then got a 56-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Dominic Jones and recovered a ball off the iron to swing momentum back. But, the Soul got a break when a fumbled backward lateral by Cleveland’s Austin was recovered by Kizer at the Philadelphia 6-yard line stopped the Gladiator threat.

Philadelphia capitalized when Ross capped a nine-play, 44-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run and improved the Soul lead to 52-35 with 2:23 left in the game. Cleveland answered when Austin found Aaron Pettrey on 19-yard touchdown pass to make it 52-42 in favor of the Soul with 52 seconds remaining. The Gladiators then recovered an onsides kick with 45 seconds left and went on to score a touchdown when Austin found Goodman on 4-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left.

The Gladiator special teams came up big again by recovering a second onsides kick. Austin then guided the Gladiators down to the Soul 11-yard line with 0.8 seconds remaining to set up the game-winning touchdown to Lewis with no time left and clinched the 54-52 victory.

Next week, the Soul return home to play the San Antonio Talons at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, June 1 at 5 p.m.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Cleveland’s Thyron Lewis
Riddell Defensive Player: Cleveland’s L.J. Jackson
J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Cleveland’s Dominic Jones
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: Cleveland’s Dominic Goodman
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Cleveland’s Shane Austin to Thyron Lewis last-second TD

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.