Soul win seventh straight, set franchise record for victories at 14

Posted: July 10, 2012

As soon as Derrick Ross fell into the end zone with 1 minute, 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, he pushed himself up and sprinted to the 25-yard line.

He squatted and pulled his arm back as if he were starting an imaginary lawn mower. Ross did that three times before topping off his celebration dance with a shoulder shimmy.

The fullback has become accustomed to polishing off touchdowns with his dances - he's done it 31 times this season - but this one was celebrating another score as much as it was celebrating another win for his red-hot Soul team. The Soul captured their seventh consecutive Arena Football League win Sunday with a 62-48 victory over the Spokane Shock in front of 7,590 at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Soul improved to 14-3 - a franchise record for regular-season wins - and avenged their two previous losses to the Shock. The last time the Soul lost was to this same Spokane team, on May 18. With one game remaining in the regular season, they have clinched the Eastern Division and home-field advantage in the American Conference playoffs.

Ross found the end zone five times Sunday night - three times on the ground and twice in the air - and was named player of the game.

"I'm just so happy, man," Ross said. "Everything is clicking."

Kent Richardson intercepted Kyle Rowley with 33 seconds remaining to seal the win. It was Richardson's 14th pick of the season, a franchise record.

The Soul dominated the second half with an efficient offense and strong defensive effort. They allowed only two touchdowns in the second half - a remarkable feat in this league of aerial offenses and a 50-yard field. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh's experience iced the game in the fourth quarter with smart management of the clock that limited Spokane's possession.

Raudabaugh completed 16 of 22 passes for 179 yards and five touchdowns, with an interception. It was his first game without star wide receiver Tiger Jones, who signed an NFL contract with the Eagles earlier this week and will battle for a spot in training camp. The wide receiver, who had accumulated 2,010 receiving yards and 47 touchdowns, won't play for the Soul for the rest of the season.

"He's a great receiver, and I think he has a good chance to make the team," Raudabaugh said. "But there are a lot of good players on this team."

The Soul got on the board just 14 seconds into the game when Jeff Hughley returned the opening kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown. They trailed only once after Spokane (8-8) answered with two straight touchdowns following Hughley's score.

Ross hit paydirt from a yard out with 22 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Soul an eight-point lead heading into the half. He finished with 83 rushing yards on 11 attempts.

"No one has a back like us," Hughley said.

After Richardson's interception, Ross ran out the clock on Sunday's win. He unbuckled his chin strap, then waved his arms above his head while facing the crowd. It was time to celebrate another win after another big performance.

Contact Chad Graff

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