By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — The Philadelphia Soul will host the conference championship next Sunday afternoon. They advanced with a 47-35 win over the Cleveland Gladiators, at the Wells Fargo Center.
This will be the second National Championship game that they’ve hosted at home, as they also hosted in 2012. The Soul will face the winner of the Jacksonville Sharks vs. Orlando Predators game that will end around 10 pm EST.
The Gladiators failed to defeat the Soul this season. After going a perfect 3-0 against them last year, they dropped to 0-4 in 2015.
This is the Soul’s third appearance in the conference championship game in the past four years. Last year, when they were eliminated by the Gladiators, they did not make it.
“It’s good to get that sour taste out of my mouth from losing last year (to the Orlando Predators when he played with the Pittsburgh Power),” Shaun Kauleinamoku mentioned. We came out here to compete and get that championship. It’s going to be nuts next week.”
Gladiators wide receiver Dominick Goodman, who was basically shut down the entire game, scored on a 4-yard touchdown reception, as Cleveland cut the lead to 47-27. He then added a two-point conversion to make it 47-29.
Goodman would catch another touchdown with 1:17 left in the game. However, the two point conversion failed.
Dwayne Hollis had a pick six off of Shane Austin for a 31-yard touchdown return. The Soul led 47-21 at this point.
“When you know you have a defense that’s gonna pressure the quarterback, cause some throws into some tight windows, you got DB’s that are on guys like gnats, it gives us the confidence to throw down field a little more or take a little more risks on third or fourth downs,” Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh said. “We got guys hitting the quarterback every play. I couldn’t ask for anything more from our defense.”
Soul kicker Tommy Frevert began the quarter with a 20-yard field goal.
Marco Thomas would open the third with a 29-yard touchdown reception, as the Soul went up 37-21. Collin Taylor would add his third touchdown with a 22-yard reception with 1:31 left in the third.
Kauleinamoku added his third touchdown on a short 4-yard touchdown as they went up 30-14.
Frevert would connect on a 24-yard field goal to make it 16-14. Then, LaRico Stevenson picked off Gladiators quarterback Shane Austin, which would eventually lead to a 1-yard Tommy Taggart Jr. rushing touchdown.
“We made plays tonight,” Soul coach Clint Dolezel stated. “Normally, it’s an offensive game. If you get two-to-three stops, you should win football games. We’re getting four-to-five-to-six, and we’re winning by a couple digits. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you get that many stops.”
Kauleinamoku and Collin Taylor each scored twice in the first quarter. However, Frevert missed the first XP, as the Soul trailed 14-13.
“It feels good, man,” SK added. “It feels good to be healthy again. We have to go execute coaches plans and we have to be on the same page with Dan [Raudabaugh]. Everything will come into place, as we get this ‘W.’
“At the beginning of the season, we said pick you’re poison. With Ryan, Marco, and myself – anyone of us can have a great game. Dan throws it to the guy that’s open and we have to make the plays.”
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