Soul scores early and often against Talons

Posted: June 03, 2014

T HE SOUL atoned for the most disappointing loss of the season, with its most emphatic victory.

It took three and a half hours to decide the Phillies game across the street. This baby was over in about 10 minutes as the Soul rolled hapless San Antonio, 76-40.

"When we struggle, it's because we start slow," said quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. "Starting fast tonight helped everyone's confidence. I think when we play confidently, we're tough to beat."

Tiger Jones began the avalanche with an 8-yard touchdown catch on the third play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Soul defensive back Rayshaun Kizer returned an interception for a touchdown after James Romain deflected the pass. Bang. 14-0.

Then, Talons players Mykel Benson and Kelvin Rodgers misplayed the ensuing kickoff allowing the Soul's Joe Goosby to recover the ball in the end zone. 21-0.

A fumble on the next play from scrimmage was quickly turned into another TD by Jones and a 28-0 Soul lead, and a new team record for points in the first quarter.

San Antonio came into the game 1-9 and looked every bit of it.

"Anytime you can do that [start fast], put a team that has only one win under their belt, they'll start saying 'Oh no, here we go again,' " Soul coach Clint Dolezel said. "And that's what we did tonight."

Only a blocked extra point kept the Soul from tying the team record for points in a half. As it was, the Soul happily went into intermission up 55-20.

The Soul had a bit of a thorn in its collective tail after letting a critical game against first-place Cleveland get away in the final minute. That May 23 loss virtually ended Philadelphia's hopes for a division title.

Last night's win, however, allowed the Soul to keep pace in the wild-card chase. Philadelphia improved to 6-5 and regained the tiebreaker advantage with Iowa for the final postseason spot.

Tampa Bay (5-6) is lurking at a game back. The Storm host the Soul on Saturday this week in a rather sizeable game. The two split a pair of meetings already this year, with the home team winning each.

"Tampa's got a good team," Raudabaugh said. "They got their quarterback back. We're going to have to play good D, good O and good special teams like we did tonight."

Raudabaugh was referring to Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard, who missed the May 17 game against the Soul with a knee injury. Hippeared has guided the Storm to consecutive wins since returning.

But Philadelphia also will be getting some reinforcements with the return of Ryan McDaniel, who was leading the Soul in receiving before missing the last two games with a calf injury. McDaniel said that if last night was a playoff game, he would have played.

"We haven't been healthy. That's the bottom line," Dolezel said. "We still have some guys out and we had four new players in there this week. We're just trying to find the right pieces and we're getting close."

The Soul are 6-2 since losing their first three, with one of those losses at Cleveland in a game they led by 17 with a minute left.

"I'm disappointed in the record, no question. But I'm not disappointed with the team," owner Ron Jaworski said before last night's game. "In this group, this organization, there's a championship football team. We've made mistakes at crucial times. We've had some misfortune in crucial times. We've had some injuries. I'm not making excuses. There's a reason we're [6-5], but we're excited about the rest of the regular season and the three games in the playoffs. Despite the disappointing record, I'm excited about our football team."

Soul notes

Dan Raudabaugh had more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (three) to earn offensive player of the game. Rayshaun Kizer was the game's top defender . . . Backup quarterback Bryan Randall threw a pair of touchdown passes in mop-up duty. On the second, a beauty of a toss for a 28-yard score to Tiger Jones, he went over and tried to playfully lift head coach Clint Dolezel. Randall was quickly reminded by a Soul assistant that he needed to get down the field in a hurry. He is the holder on extra points . . . Jones had a season-high 118 receiving yards. Emery Sammons chipped in 106, as the Soul had two 100-yard receivers in the same game for the first time this season . . . San Antonio's final touchdown was a 5-yard catch by Moqut Ruffins, a rather nimble 320-pound offensive lineman. Adam Smith, a 320-pound o-lineman for the Soul, had a pair of catches . . . The Soul are 5-0 at home, 1-5 on the road . . . Today is the trade deadline. Both Dolezel and Ron Jaworski said they'd like to see about improving the pass rush.
On Twitter: @EdBarkowitz

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