Soul romp, 75-59, to reach ArenaBowl

Posted: August 12, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The truest sign of Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh's efficiency was how little damage two second-half interceptions made in the Soul's bid for a second consecutive ArenaBowl appearance.

With seven consecutive scoring possessions and enough defensive stops providing more than enough cushion, the Soul fended off a Jacksonville Sharks charge, regained control, and posted a 75-59 victory in the American Conference championship game before a Veterans Memorial Arena crowd of 9,161 Saturday night.

The Soul (14-6) will face the Arizona-Spokane winner in the ArenaBowl next Saturday in Orlando. Jacksonville (13-7) fell to the Soul in the conference championship game for the second straight year.

Those two picks helped put the Sharks within range of cutting a 26-point Soul lead to one score after Michaeux Robinson picked off Raudabaugh on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Earlier, Raudabaugh gave up a pick-six on a deflected pass returned by Jerry Turner.

The Soul's defense, which contained Jacksonville quarterback Bernard Morris most of the night, made a fourth-down stop, and fullback Derrick Ross' fourth touchdown pushed the Soul lead back to three touchdowns.

Raudabaugh finished 18 of 27 for 220 yards and a season-high eight touchdowns. Ross rushed for 53 yards and turned both his receptions into scores.

"This game makes you an efficient quarterback," Raudabaugh said. "My defense bailed me out and that's what it's all about. We got the stops we needed and then my guys on offense executed. It's awesome when you have as many weapons as I do."

"Dan knows the game," said Soul coach Clint Dolezel. "He's been in my system three years and he's one of the top three quarterbacks in this league."

After an opening-drive fumble, Raudabaugh recovered and guided the Soul to scores on their five other first-half possessions en route to a 40-21 halftime lead.

The Soul needed just 20 plays to score those 40 points as Raudabaugh connected on eight of his first 11 passes for four touchdowns - two to Ross out of the backfield.

Dolezel made his lone onside kick gamble pay off after the Soul had a 33-21 lead.

Carlos Martinez's kick went high enough to allow Andrae Thurman to get under it and catch it on the run and take it down to the Sharks' 2-yard line. After running as much time as possible off the clock and forcing Jacksonville to burn its timeouts, Ross scored easily on a 1-yard sweep with 31 seconds remaining.

Larry Brackins' second score of the night gave the Soul their biggest lead, 47-21, early in the third quarter.

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