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Soul defense leads way over Gladiators, 48-33

Saturday August 8, 2015

Philadelphia Caps 15-3 Regular Season With Victory Over Cleveland

 

CLEVELAND (August 8, 2015) – The 2015 East Division Champion, Philadelphia Soul (15-3) defense flexed its muscles with five defensive stops (one fumble, four on downs) as they finished the regular season with a 48-33 victory against the Cleveland Gladiators (8-10) in front of 12,474 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturdaynight.  Dan Raudabaugh capped an MVP-type season with a League-leading 119 touchdowns and 4,978 passing yards.

 

“Anytime you can get a win in a hostile environment, you have to be pleased,” Philadelphia Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel said.  “As well as the defense played tonight, I think we can get better.  We obviously didn’t show too much in this game since we turn around and play them next week, but we do have some things to clean up and be ready for a run at the title.”

 

J. Lewis Small AFL Playmaker of the Game, Shaun Kauleinamoku led the Soul receivers with six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.  Marco Thomas had five receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown, while Ryan McDaniel had two receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.  Adam Smith added a 4-yard score, which set an AFL single-season record for Tight End touchdowns (9), and Harvey Binford chipped in with four catches for 47 yards.  Tommy Taggart added 14 rushing on six carries, one rushing touchdown and an 8-yard touchdown for the Soul on offense.

 

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Dan Raudabaugh finished the night completing 19-of-31 passes for 238 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.  Cleveland’s Shane Austin completed 16-of-33 passes for 176 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

 

Collin Taylor led the Gladiator receivers with eight receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while Thyron Lewis added three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

 

Despite not getting the Defensive Player of the Game, Beau Bell recorded 3.0 total tackles, one sack and a blocked extra point as well as pressuring Austin all night.  James Romain added 6.0 total tackles, while Joe Goosby had 6.0 total tackles and LaRico Stevenson had a key fumble recovery early in the game.

 

The Soul won the toss and deferred to the second half, but the defense answered the call.  On Cleveland’s first drive, the Soul stopped the Gladiators inside the five to get a turnover on downs.  Raudabaugh struck quickly as he found Kauleinamoku on a 46-yard touchdown to give the Soul a 7-0 lead. 

 

The Gladiators’ Amarri Jackson was stripped by Soul kicker Tommy Frevert on the following kickoff before getting into the endzone and recovered by Stevenson for the Soul.  Philadelphia was unable to capitalize and gave it back on downs.  Collin Taylor scored from three yards out to tie the score at 7-7 with 5:15 remaining in the first quarter.  The Soul answered when Raudabaugh found Taggart for an 8-yard score to make it 14-7 to end the first quarter scoring.

 

Cleveland’s Austin opened the second quarter scoring by plunging in from a yard out, but a missed extra point kept Philadelphia in the lead, 14-13.  Philadelphia answered with a seven-play, 45-yard drive that ended with Raudabaugh connecting with Kauleinamoku from eight yards out to give the Soul a 21-13 advantage with 6:23left in the first half.  The defense stepped up again, as the Soul forced another turnover on downs, in part because of a Beau Bell sack. The Soul capitalized when Taggart scored on a 1-yard run to give Philadelphia a 28-13 halftime lead.

 

The Soul offense stalled to start the second half and turned it over on downs.  Austin found Taylor on a 3-yard touchdown to narrow the Soul lead to 28-20 with 10:45 left in the third quarter. 

 

The Soul got back on track when Raudabaugh hit McDaniel on a 21-yard scoring strike to push the lead back to 35-20 with 8:11 left in the third.  On the next series, the Soul defense, again, forced a turnover on downs.  But, a Taggart fumble gave the ball back to Cleveland. The Gladiators scored with an Austin to Lewis 16-yard touchdown pass to narrow the score to 35-26 after Bell blocked the extra point to end the third quarter.

 

Philadelphia opened the fourth quarter with a Raudabaugh to Thomas, 12-yard touchdown connection, but the missed extra point made it, 41-26 with 12:18 remaining.  The following drive, Austin dove in from a yard out to cut the Soul lead to 41-33 with 9:17 left.  Philadelphia answered when Raudabaugh found Adam Smith on a 4-yard touchdown pass to push the Soul lead to 48-33 with 6:36 left. 

 

For the fourth time in the game, the Soul defense stopped Cleveland on downs and took over with a minute to go and were able to run out the clock. The final score: Philadelphia 48, Cleveland 33.

 

Next week, the No. 1-seeded Soul will open the First Round of the American Conference Playoffs at home against the No. 4 Cleveland Gladiators at 5 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, August 15.  The game will be televised on The CBS Sports Network.

 

Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia’s Dan Raudabaugh

Riddell Defensive Player:  Cleveland’s Brian Brikowski

J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker: Philadelphia’s Shaun Kauleinamoku

Cutters Catch of the Game: Cleveland’s Thyron Lewis 16-yard TD in the third quarter

Spalding Highlight of the Game:  Philadelphia’s Tommy Frevert’s strip and LaRico Stevenson’s fumble recovery in the first quarter.

 

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL

 

The 2015 East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul are celebrating their 10th Anniversary Season.  For playoff 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/" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">www.philadelphiasoul.com.  Follow the Soul on Facebook at facebook.com/soul and Twitter at twitter.com/soulfootball.