The Soul needed their last play of the game to win their third game in a row.
Down one point with 13 seconds left, quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with wide receiver Tiger Jones for a six-yard touchdown to give the Soul (3-3) a 60-55 win over the Iowa Barnstormers (3-3) Sunday evening at Wells Fargo Center.
After taking a 54-52 lead with 1:31 left in the game, the Soul attempted an onside kick, which Iowa recovered. The Soul held the Barnstormers to a field goal, getting the ball back with enough time for Raudabaugh to orchestrate the game-winning drive.
“You always want the ball last in Arena Football,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “The thought process is we kick an onside kick, we play good, solid D with no penalties.
“If they score, so be it. It’s an offensive game. We go down and score like we did and that’s how this game works.”
Raudabaugh led the Soul to a five-play, 32-yard drive resulting in Jones’ fifth touchdown of the game.
“You heard it from coach, you want the ball last,” Raudabaugh said, “and our guys did a good job, got out of bounds when we needed to, made catches.
“They were spying the frontside D-end, who is about 6-foot-8. We gotta get it over him. Good thing [V’Keon] Lacey can jump out of the gym and made some good catches. And, hey, that’s kind of what Tiger Jones does.”
Despite throwing an interception on his first pass of the game, Raudabaugh finished strong, completing 26 of 35 passes for 283 yards, nine touchdowns and that one pick.
At the end of the first quarter, his only incompletion was the interception. He also threw for 96 yards and three touchdowns in the first 15.
“He threw some great balls tonight,” Dolezel said. “Iowa played good, offensively and defensively. They played solid football, better than they’ve shown on film. They battled. Dan pretty much picked them apart all night long.”
Raudabaugh spread the wealth, as three different receivers raked in touchdowns and Ryan McDaniel picked up his fourth 100-yard game of the season, with 107 yards on seven grabs.
Jones reeled in five TDs on seven catches for 52 yards. Temple football product and offensive lineman Wayne Tribue caught his second touchdown of the season, which gave the Soul a 21-20 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
But it was Lacey who stole the show. The 25-year-old caught five balls, all of them at critical points. He had three touchdowns on three first-half catches and a pair of grabs on the Soul’s game-winning drive. He finished with 65 yards.
“I’ve never had seen, or played with for that matter, any receiver that can come down with a 50-50 ball like he does,” Dolezel said. “If you put it close to him and there is a defensive back, he comes down with it more than I’ve seen anybody.”
Entering the game, Lacey had seven catches for 89 yards and one score in four games.
“He’s been kind of harping on me a little bit to look his way more,” Raudabaugh said, referring to Lacey. “Because sometimes I do just keep Ryan and Tiger a little more than the other guys.
“But, hey, [he] got open three times, probably was open some other times and I missed them all. When your number gets called, you gotta make a play. He made two tremendous catches for a touchdown.”
After starting the season with three straight losses, the Soul head into next week’s matchup in Pittsburgh with the Power -- also 3-3 -- riding a hot streak.
“We just gotta keep moving, keep getting better,” Raudabaugh said. “And we’re excited and we look forward to going to Pittsburgh.”