Soul drop home opener in overtime to Cleveland

Soul drop home opener in overtime to Cleveland
April 21, 2013, 11:00 am
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The Soul blew an 14-point in the second half and dropped their home opener to the Cleveland Gladiators, 64-57, in overtime on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected on 31-of-50 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns, but his efforts were not enough as the Soul fell to 2-2 on the season.

“We didn’t play our offense,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We just didn’t show up like we were supposed to. There were too many penalties – offsides and holding penalties. It’s embarrassing playing the way we did in front of our fans. We have a lot to improve with Jacksonville coming into town. They’re playing great football and we’re going to need to step it up.”

Tiger Jones led Soul receivers with 13 receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Derrick Ross finished the game with 17 rushing yards and two scores.

Cleveland QB Brian Zbydniewski lit up the Soul defense for 316 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to earning the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game.

The Gladiators scored on the opening series of the game with a six-yard pass from Zbydniewski to Jonathon Wilson. The Soul responded with a nine-play, 47-yard drive on a two-yard run by fullback Derrick Ross.

On the following kickoff, Soul linebacker LaRico Stevenson forced a fumble and recovered the ball to score on a seven-yard TD return.

In the second quarter, Jones and Larry Brackins caught two TDs while Ross ran one in for the Soul. Cleveland's Thyron Lewis accounted for two scores and the first half ended with the Soul up 35-21.

During the third quarter, Cleveland forced two turnovers, with DB Maurice Williams and DB Brandon Anderson intercepting Raudabaugh.  he turnovers were followed by the Gladiators scoring 14 unanswered points on an 11 and 17-yard touchdown receptions by Jamar Howard. At the end of the third, the game was tied 35-35.

Both teams scored 22 points in the final quarter. With 10 seconds left, Jones scored his third TD of the night to give the Soul a three-point lead. Cleveland's Ross Gornall kicked a 45-yard field goal with no time remaining to send the game to OT.

On the first possession in the extra frame, the Gladiators scored on a 16-yard catch by Lewis. The Soul were unable to score on their possession.

The Soul will host the Jacksonville Sharks on April 27 at 7:05 p.m. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet.