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 clobber Gladiators to improve to 6-0 in title defense

Soul clobber Gladiators to improve to 6-0 in title defense

The Soul on Saturday night improved to 6-0 on the season with a 64-46 win over the Cleveland Gladiators at the Wells Fargo Center.

After going up 41-13, Cleveland made it interesting but the Soul ultimately held off the Gladiators in the fourth quarter. Cleveland is now 1-5 on the season.

"I’m very happy with how the team played tonight," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told the Soul's official website. “Despite having some injured key players, we were able to adjust in order to defeat Cleveland for the second time this season.”

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw for 176 yards and eight touchdowns, while wide receiver Ryan McDaniel pulled in four catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. Darius Reynolds led the way with 85 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions.

Soul wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku added three touchdowns on three catches and 38 yards.

The Soul will look to go 7-0 next week when they head to Washington to face the Valor.

Soul score 2 touchdowns in final minute, top Brigade in comeback win

Soul score 2 touchdowns in final minute, top Brigade in comeback win

For the second straight week, the defending Arena Football champion Soul were tested.

And for the second straight week, the Soul passed by the skin of their teeth.

The Soul on Saturday night scored two touchdowns in the final minute to beat the Baltimore Brigade, 61-56, at the Wells Fargo Center. They are now 5-0 on the season.

“Tonight was a tough one. Baltimore brought their game,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told ArenaFootball.com.  “While we did end up with the victory, it was a messy game. I was proud of the guys for how they came back in the forth. We have a lot to work on this week before we take on Cleveland.” 

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh hooked up with wide receiver Ryan McDaniel for a touchdown with 42 seconds left to make it a 56-55 game. The Soul missed the extra point, but Sean Daniels recovered a Baltimore fumble and returned it to the house of a touchdown.

After a failed two-point conversion, the Soul held off the Brigade for the win.

Raudabaugh finished with 268 yards and eight touchdowns. McDaniel had seven catches for 86 yards and three touchdowns.

Next up for the Soul is a date with the Cleveland Gladiators at the Wells Fargo Center.