PHILADELPHIA— The Philadelphia Soul (4-0) defeated the Cleveland Gladiators (1-4), with the final score 69-67 in front of 10,389 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.
“Tonight was not one of our best performances, but a win is a win,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We have some injuries to attend to and some improvements to make on both sides of the ball if we want to continue our championship run this season.”
Soul WR Darius Reynolds led the receivers with five receptions for 120 yards and four touchdowns. WR Shaun Kauleinamoku added five receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns and WR Ryan McDaniel tallied two receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown. Cleveland WR Quentin Sims led the receivers with eight receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh completed 14-of-24 passes for 245 yards and eight touchdowns. Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson completed 16-of-27 passes for 223 yards and six touchdowns.
The Soul won the coin toss and elected to kick off to the Gladiators. The Gladiators got off to a quick start when Nelson connected with Sims for a 12-yard touchdown. The Soul did not hesitate as Raudabaugh found Reynolds for a 41-yard touchdown. With 10:57 to play in the quarter, the score was tied 7-7. The Gladiators took the lead again when Nelson passed to Brandon Thompkins for a 7-yard touchdown. The kick was no good and with 6:35 to play in the quarter, the Soul trailed 13-7. Without hesitation, Raudabaugh found Mykel Benson for a 30-yard touchdown and the Soul regained the lead 14-13. Nelson reacted with a 33-yard pass to Sims again for his second touchdown of the night. Kick was good and with 2:51 left in the first quarter, the Soul were down again 20-14. McDaniel joined the crowd with his first touchdown of the night as he caught a 21-yard pass and the Soul regained the lead 21-20. A pass by Nelson was intercepted by Torez Jones, giving the Soul possession at the end of the quarter.
The Soul kicked off the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run by Benson. Trevino missed the extra PAT, but the Soul kept the lead 27-20. On the kickoff, the ball bounced off the bar and was recovered by Reynolds, giving the Soul possession once again. The team capitalized on this with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to Kauleinamoku. The kick was good and the Soul stretched their lead 34-20. The Gladiators responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Nelson and with 4:34 left in the half the Soul remained in the lead 34-27. Reynolds caught a 30-yard pass from Raudabaugh for his second touchdown of the night. Trevino’s kick was good and the Soul led 41-27. In the final 15 seconds of the quarter, Nelson ran the ball in for a touchdown but as time ran out in the first half, the Soul kept the lead, 41-34.
The Soul started out the second half with a pass from Raudabaugh to Kauleinamoku for a 14-yard touchdown, his second of the night. Kick was good and with 11:37 to play in the quarter, the Soul led 48-34. Nelson recorded his third rushing touchdown of the night with an 18-yard run, closing the gap 48-40. Reynolds struck again on a 3-yard pass from Raudabaugh for his third touchdown of the night. Extra point was good and with 5:01 left in the third quarter, the Soul remained in the lead 55-40.
The Gladiators began the final quarter with a 14-yard touchdown pass by Nelson to Thompkins. Nelson’s two-point conversion was good but the Soul kept the lead 55-48. Benson ran for his second rushing touchdown of the night and with the successful extra point, the Soul led 62-48. In an attempt to close the gap, Nelson connected with Taylor for a 23-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Soul remained in the lead, 62-54. Reynolds caught his fourth touchdown of the night on a 38-yard pass and with 5:55 to play, the Soul led 69-54. Thompkins returned the kick-off for another Gladiator touchdown and the extra point was good, closing the margin 69-61. An onside kick attempt was recovered by the Gladiators and they capitalized on this with a 4-yard touchdown by Aslam Sterling. Cleveland’s two-point conversion was unsuccessful and as time ran out, the Soul defeated the Gladiators 69-67.
Offensive Player of the Game: Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson
Defensive Player of the Game: Philadelphia DB Torez Jones
MVP of the Game: Philadelphia QB Dan Raudabaugh