By Anthony Caruso III
Posted: July 13th, 2013 at 3:30 AM EST
Philadelphia – The Philadelphia Soul and the Utah Blaze rarely face each other.
But when they do face each other, all three meetings have been at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. And, as the Blaze traveled two time zones to get to Philadelphia, they have dropped each game, as well.
The Soul defeated the Blaze, 69-39, last night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The past two meetings have been a 30-plus point win for the Soul. However, if you go back to April 5, 2008, the two teams played to their closest game in the series, as the Soul won 64-56 in that game.
As the history has shown, the Soul came into each meeting with the Blaze on a win streak, and the streak continued on after the meeting. And, with this year’s version of the Soul, they are currently on a six game win streak.
Two of these wins have come against Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady. Grady was called on early after an injury to starter Jason Boltus, who did not return to the game.
The Soul would have liked Boltus to stay in, according to Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. But when the change was made, he had to deal with Grady as the quarterback for the rest of the game.
“Grady is a great football player,” Dolezel said. “He broke every record in the world last year, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy because he’s a good football player. I wasn’t overly thrilled when [Boltus] got hurt. We know what [Grady] can do.”
Grady, who was named the Arena Football League MVP last year, had a hard time beating the Soul defense. He would attempt to lead the Blaze back, but the Soul defense would not allow it.
The Soul defense allowed six touchdowns in the game – and only four passing touchdowns. They also caused six Blaze turnover on downs.
All of these passing touchdowns by Grady came in the second half. Yet, the longest passing touchdown came to Mario Urrutia for 19-yards, as the other three were for less than 10 yards.
At one point in the second half, the Blaze were within 22 points when Grady hit Shannon Tevaga for a touchdown. But the Soul wouldn’t let up and continued to increase their lead.
Dan Raudabaugh led the Soul’s aerial attack, as he threw four touchdowns in the second half, like Grady did. Yet, unlike Grady, Raudabaugh got other contributions, as Derrick Ross rushed for a five-yard rushing touchdown to give the Soul a 49-19 lead minutes into the third quarter.
Tiger Jones was shut out of the end zone, so Raudabaugh had to count on his other wide receivers to step up. Andrae Thurman stepped up the most with four touchdowns – and two in the second half with one touchdown for 13 yards and the other for 7 yards.
“I’m sure Tiger’s not happy,” said Raudabaugh. “He wants to get into the end zone. They kind of shut him out of the game, as there was a chance to score a touchdown, before the pass interference call, but I overthrew the ball. Luckily, we have other guys that can step up, like they did [last night.]”
Raudabaugh also connected with Jason Jones for a 5-yard touchdown and Larry Brackins for a 12 yard touchdown in the second half.
Brackins would also catch a 19-yard touchdown from Raudabaugh right before halftime, as the Soul went up 35-13. Thurman caught a 7 yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to open up the second quarter.
Both teams would also trade rushing touchdowns, as well, in the second. Ross added a 3-yard rushing touchdown for the Soul, as they went up 28-13.
Blaze fullback Ben Stallings rushed a yard into the end zone, cutting the Soul lead to 21-13. Chase Deadder scored a one yard rushing touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 14-6.
Both Thurman and Ross rushed into the end zone in the first quarter for the Soul. Ross rushed for another 3-yard touchdown, while Thurman went one yard into the end zone, as the Soul led 14-0.