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Soul rolls past Gladiators, 63-48

Saturday April 18, 2015

 PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw for 262 yards and seven touchdowns while wide receivers Marco Thomas and Ryan McDaniel each scored three times as the Soul (4-0) rolled past the Cleveland Gladiators (2-2) on Saturday night, 63-48. For the Gladiators, quarterback Shane Austin passed for 298 yards and five touchdowns while wide receiver Collin Taylor caught ten passes for 120 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in the losing effort. The Gladiators return home next Friday to take on the Tampa Bay Storm at 7:00 p.m. Friday’s game can be heard live on 92.3 The Fan.

The Gladiators opened the scoring when fullback Jeramie Richardson capped off a seven-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal to put Cleveland on top 7-0 early in the first quarter. The Philadelphia Soul were quick to respond however on their next offensive series, as Raudabaugh hooked up with Marco Thomas for a six-yard score. The extra point by kicker Tommy Frevert tied the game up, 7-7, with 6:48 remaining in the opening frame. On the following drive, Gladiators quarterback Shane Austin found Taylor on 3rd and 18 for a 28-yard touchdown to push the score to 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.

To open the second quarter, the Philadelphia offense, led by Raudabaugh, marched down field and punched it in the end zone on a one-yard run from wide receiver Ryan McDaniel to put the Soul on top, 14-13, with 9:04 remaining in the quarter. After recovering the ensuing onside kick, the Philadelphia offense only needed two plays to find pay dirt once again as Raudabaugh found McDaniel for a six-yard touchdown. The Frevert extra point made the score 21-13 with 8:12 left in the half.

The Gladiators responded quickly and in a big way, as Austin found former Soul wide receiver Andrae Thurman on the first play of the drive for a 36-yard touchdown, to pull the Gladiators to 21-20. On the next series, fullback Tommy Taggart would cap off the scoring in the first half when he scored from one-yard out to put Philadelphia up 28-20 at the break. Philadelphia dominated time of possession in the second quarter as the Gladiators offense only ran two offensive plays.

Opening the second half with the ball, Philadelphia struck quickly as Raudabaugh found Marco Thomas wide open on the first play of the drive for a 48-yard touchdown. The score put the Soul ahead by two scores, 35-20, for the first time in the contest. After Cleveland turned the ball over on downs, the Soul offense didn’t waste time finding the end zone again as Thomas hauled in a one-handed nine-yard touchdown pass to push the Philadelphia lead to 42-20. The score was Thomas’ third of the night.

The Gladiator offense ended a 21-0 run by the Soul when Austin found Taylor for his second touchdown reception of the night, a three-yarder to make the score 42-27 Philadelphia with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter. Gladiators defensive lineman Mike Alston recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt as Cleveland would gain a much needed extra possession. Two plays later, Austin found Taylor for his third touchdown catch of the night, a 24-yarder to pull the Gladiators within one score, 42-34.

In the fourth quarter, Raudabaugh would find McDaniel once again for a 12-yard touchdown pass to push the Soul lead back to double digits, 49-34. The catch was McDaniel’s third touchdown of the game. After the Gladiators turned the ball over on downs, the Philadelphia offense put the game out of reach for good when Raudabaugh connected with wide receiver Xavier Boyce on a seven yard touchdown to make the score 56-34 with 5:33 remaining in the game.

The Gladiators offense would answer on the next drive as Richardson would pick up his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard touchdown run. A failed two-point conversion made the score 56-40 with 3:14 left in the game. After Cleveland failed to recover the onside kick attempt Philadelphia would tack on another score, a five-yard pitch and catch from Raudabaugh to wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku to give the Soul a 63-40 lead with a minute left. The touchdown pass was Raudabaugh’s seventh of the game.

On the next series, Austin would find Taylor for a four-yard touchdown. The catch was Taylor’s fourth touchdown of the night and a career high. A successful two-point conversion made the score 63-48 at the final buzzer.

NOTES: The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Gladiators over Philadelphia… Gladiators now lead all-time series 7-6… Cleveland has lost two games in a row for the first time since June of the 2013 season… Fullback Jeramie Richardson rushed for two touchdowns in the game, he has four total for the season… Wide receiver Andrae Thurman caught his second touchdown of the season, a 36-yarder in the second quarter… The least penalized team in the league, the Gladiators were flagged 12 times for 79 yards in the game… The Gladiators outgained the Soul in total net yards 314-269… Follow the Gladiators on Twitter @CLEGladiators and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandgladiators