By Maximillian C. Burgos | Contributing Writer
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Philadelphia Soul maintained their undefeated season, extending their record to 6-0, against the Cleveland Gladiators. The game ended with a score of 64-46 on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Soul got out to a early lead, going up 14-0 in the first quarter. In the first quarter, veteran wide-receiver “Money” Reynolds achieved the milestone of having over 5,000 yards receiving, with his third catch of the game.
“Money” Reynolds did not stop there, he caught seven passes for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Soul wide-receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku also had a solid game, catching three passes, all touchdowns for a collective of 38 yards.
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh also had his typical solid performance. He threw 16-for-24, for 176 yards and eight touchdowns.Though, he was sacked early in the game, he maintained his composure, leading his offense to a decisive and dominant win.
The Soul’s offense clicked most of the game, scoring on all of their drives expect one. Even linemen Neal Tivis got in on the action, catching a touchdown on a convincing play-action pass in the third quarter. The Soul made sure that their defense’s efforts were not wasted, claiming 4 turnovers in the game, all of which turned into points for the Soul.
Soul defensive-back Dwayne Hollis also made his presence felt on the field for the defensive. He broke up many passes that could have hurt the Soul in the long run. He along with the rest of the defense had a solid night.
Though Hollis had a solid game, the true defensive stand out was linebacker Joe Goosby. Goosby played in his 100th game in the league last week and demonstrated this week that he has not missed a step.
Goosby made the Gladiators defense pay every chance he got. Goosby seemed to be everywhere at once, breaking up passes, making solid tackles, and creating turnovers. He claimed three turnovers, two interceptions and one fumble recovery for a touchdown.
“The defense played great. We were were constantly putting pressure on Arvell [Nelson, Cleveland quarterback]. The DB’s were right there in coverage with the exception of a few plays,” stated Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “That was Joe[Goosby]-of-old. Even though the stat sheet does not always reflect it, he plays like that every week. He plays hard.”
When asked to comment on his performance, Goosby stayed humble. “It was just a great game where I just happen to be in the right spot. We knew if we kept Arvell in the pocket, were would force turnovers. We took a step closer to where we want to be as a defense and as a team.”
The Gladiators offense did have spurts, where it seemed like they could make a comeback. Gladiators quarterback Arvell Nelson tried to make things happened for his team, using his legs to pick up some first downs, passed the ball for 282 yards and six touchdowns.
Ultimately, his standout performance is marred by the fact that he is credited with all of his teams turnovers, which put them in a hole early on. There were flashes here and there of a possible closer game, but Nelson, more than once, spoiled it with his inability to hang on to the ball or his inaccuracy throwing the ball.
Gladiators wide-receivers Quentin Sims and Larry Brackins — a former Soul player for many years — did have solid games, despite their team’s struggles. Sims caught ten passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Brackins caught four passes for 52 yards and four touchdowns. Brackins catch a pass in the 3rd quarter that nailed him to the boards, yet somehow held on to the ball, for the Gladiators’ score.
The Gladiators were hurt and helped by their special teams. Their kicker missed a few extra points, that dug the Gladiators into a deeper and deeper hole. But, Gladiators wide-receiver Brandon Thompkins returned a kickoff back for a touchdown in the second quarter to try and keep hopes alive. The home crowd was very displeased, booing him as he celebrated in the end-zone.
Overall, the Soul had a strong performance and have maintained their undefeated status. They travel next week to Washington D.C to play the Washington Valor at the Verizon Center. The game is scheduled to be played on Saturday, May 28th at 7:00 p.m. The Soul won their last encounter with the Valor in a convincing fashion.
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