Soul stay hot with 30-point thrashing of Blaze

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Soul stay hot with 30-point thrashing of Blaze

Even the Utah Blaze, sporting burnt-orange pants that resemble their name, were no match for the red-hot Soul.

The Soul, sparked by five passing touchdowns from quarterback Dan Raudabaugh and a combined seven touchdowns from Andrae Thurman and Derrick Ross, notched their sixth straight victory with a 69-39 route of Utah.

The Soul picked up right where they left off from last Saturday’s blowout win over Chicago. They marched down the field with ease on their first possession, with Thurman eventually crossing the goal line and drawing first blood for the Soul.

“[Thurman] is one of those unsung heroes,” head coach Clint Dolezel said. “He’s a return guy, he’s blocking everybody, he tackles on kickoffs, he’s a great returner, as far as blocking as well. There’s a reason I brought him in here, because I’ve played with him before. He’s one of the guys that is making the nucleus of our team.”

If Thurman was the dynamic, speedy and athletic member of the Soul's offense, Ross was surely the hard-nosed bruiser. Following a Blaze turnover resulting from a dropped pass on fourth down, Ross barreled through Utah defenders for the 14-0 advantage in the first quarter.

Although Utah initially struggled to get anything going offensively, the Blaze picked things up when starting quarterback Jason Boltus was knocked out of the game with an injury. However, as Dolezel would point out, the Soul coach may have felt more comfortable with Boltus in the game rather than backup Tommy Grady. Grady shattered AFL records last year, tossing 142 touchdowns and totaling 5,870 passing yards.

“Grady is a great football player,” Dolezel said. “He broke every record in the world last year, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy because he’s a good football player. I wasn’t overly thrilled when [Boltus] got hurt. We know what [Grady] can do.”

When Grady and the Blaze responded with their first touchdown of the game -- albeit with a botched extra point -- the Soul wasted no time in getting back on the board. Thurman recorded his second score of the game with an eight-yard touchdown catch delivered from Raudabaugh.

After Utah scored again, it was Ross’ turn to tally his second touchdown of the game, putting the Soul ahead 28-13 late in the first half. Raudabaugh tacked on another touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the second quarter, and the Soul led 35-13 at the break.

The Soul would not let up following intermission. Another four-and-out by the Blaze in the opening possession of the second half led to Raudabaugh’s third touchdown pass of the game, giving the Soul a commanding 42-13 lead.

Thurman and Ross would later tack on their fourth and third touchdowns, respectively, while Raudabaugh threw for his fifth touchdown pass as the Soul once again won in blowout fashion.
    
With their sixth straight win and just two games remaining, the Soul improved to 11-5 and now have a half-game lead over the Jacksonville Sharks atop the American Conference. Their final two regular-season games will come on the road against San Jose on July 20 and San Antonio on July 27. The Soul will then host their first-round playoff game on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.

Before they get to that point, however, Dolezel would like to see his team finish out the regular season strong.

“It’s tough going on the coast,” Dolezel said. “It’s always been a struggle to go there. We have to play good football. We have to keep pace with Jacksonville."

Soul steamroll Storm to improve to 9-0, clinch home playoff game

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Soul steamroll Storm to improve to 9-0, clinch home playoff game

Another week and another victory for the Soul.

The Soul on Saturday night steamrolled the Tampa Bay Storm, 62-41, at the Wells Fargo Center to clinch a home playoff and improve to 9-0 on the season. Tampa Bay is now 7-3.

“Going into this game, we knew Tampa Bay was going to be a tough opponent,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told ArenaFootball.com. “I’m very proud of how the guys played. They held their own and kept the lead. It’s a great feeling to be undefeated at this point in the season.”

Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh completed 15 of 21 passes for 209 yards and five touchdowns — all five going to wide receiver Darius Reynolds, who had six catches for 115 yards too.

Fullback Mykel Benson added four touchdowns on seven rushes and 22 yards.

The Soul head out on the road next week to face the Gladiators in Cleveland.

Soul use strong defensive effort to beat Gladiators, improve to 8-0

Soul use strong defensive effort to beat Gladiators, improve to 8-0

The Soul on Saturday night used a strong defensive effort to beat the Cleveland Gladiators, 59-49, at the Wells Fargo Center to improve to 8-0.

Clinging to a 37-35 lead in the third quarter, the Soul forced a turnover on downs by the Gladiators and then added a touchdown on the ensuing possession to go up, 44-35.

From that point forward, it was all Soul.

“This was a little slower start off a bye week than I had expected, but I’ll take the win,” head coach Clint Dolezel told PhiladelphiaSoul.com. “I am impressed with how we stepped up in the second half and we are ready to take on the second half of the season.”

Raudabaugh became the 10th player in Arena Football history to throw for more than 30,000 career yards Saturday. The QB finished with 303 yards and seven touchdowns against Cleveland.

His main hookup on Saturday was with wide receiver Darius Reynolds, who reeled in nine catches for 144 yards and four touchdowns.

The Soul welcome the Tampa Bay Storm to South Philly next Saturday at 7 p.m.