LAST-SECOND FIELD GOAL ENDS SOUL SEASON, 39-37
CLEVELAND (August 2, 2014) – Cleveland kicker Aaron Pettrey connected on a 36-yard field goal as time expired as the Gladiators defeated the Philadelphia Soul, 39-37, in front of 12,684 fans on Saturday night at the Quicken Loans Arena. Philadelphia’s Rayshaun Kizer set a new Arena Football League record with four interceptions in a losing effort.
“We put up a good fight and had our opportunities but we didn’t cash them in,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “This is a game that we hope we remember and motivates us for next year.”
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh finished the evening by completing 20-of-42 passes for 246 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.
Philadelphia’s Emery Sammons finished with six receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown. Markee White had six catches for 38 yards and one touchdown. Tiger Jones also helped the Soul by putting up five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, while V’Keon Lacey finished with one catch for 10 yards and a touchdown.
AFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year candidate, Derrick Ross led the ground game with 27 yards on 10 carries and one receiving touchdown.
Defensively the Soul was led by Rayshaun Kizer, who had 8.5 total tackles, AFL-record four interceptions and four pass breakups. Also for Philadelphia, James Romain had 4.5 total tacklesand one pass breakup, while Joe Goosby had 4.5 total tackles and an interception.
Cleveland’s Shane Austin completed 23-of-40 passes for 246 yards, two touchdowns and won Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game honors despite his five interceptions. Thyron Lewis led the Gladiators with eight receptions for 109 yards, while Dominick Goodman added seven catches for 64 yards and one touchdown and Collin Taylor had six catches for 60 yards and one touchdown.
The Gladiators defense was led by Dominic Jones with 10.5 total tackles and four pass breakups. Alvin Ray Jackson tallied 5.5 total tackles.
The Gladiators received the ball to begin the game, but Austin’s first pass was intercepted by Kizer. Following the turnover, Raudabaugh found Lacey on a 10-yard scoring strike to give the Soul a 6-0 lead after the missed extra point. Cleveland would answer with a 7-yard touchdown run, but the missed extra point kept the score at 6-6 with2:39 left in the first. The Soul countered with a scoring drive that ended with Raudabaugh connecting with Jones on a 10-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked and returned by Cleveland’s Dominic Jones for two points to make the score at the end of the first quarter, 12-8 in favor of the Soul.
The Gladiators’ first drive of the second quarter ended when Kizer picked off an Austin pass in the endzone and gave Philadelphia the ball with 10:42 remaining in the second quarter. Cleveland then intercepted a Raudabaugh pass in the corner of the endzone when it appeared Lacey had possession. He Gladiators then scored on the following possession when Goodman hauled in a 7-yard, 4th Down touchdown to give Cleveland their first lead of the game and took a 15-12 lead into halftime.
The first four possessions of the third quarter turned up scoreless for both sides with the Soul giving it up on downs twice and the Gladiators throwing two interceptions – Kizer and Joe Goosby. The Soul finally cracked the scoring when Raudabaugh found White from four yards out to give the Soul the 19-15 lead with 2:34 left in the third quarter. Cleveland ended the third quarter when Austin found Taylor for a 15-yard touchdown and gave Cleveland the 22-19 advantage.
The Soul got a 19-yard field goal from Jon Striefsky with 8:58 left in the fourth to tie the game at 22-22. Kizer continued his record-setting night with his fourth interception of the evening with 8:07 left. Philadelphia marched down the field and capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to Ross, giving the Soul a 29-22 lead with4:26 left. Cleveland answered when Austin scrambled and scored from 19 yards out to tie the game at 29-29 with 2:15 left.
The Soul drive that started at the one-minute warning stalled and the Cleveland defense forced a turnover on downs. Cleveland scored to take a 36-29 lead, but Philadelphia scored when Raudabaugh found Sammons for a 47-yard touchdown. The Soul converted the two-pointer to take a 37-36 lead with 25 seconds left. Cleveland got the ball into position to set up a 36-yard field goal that Aaron Pettrey made as time expired. The final score, Cleveland 39, Philadelphia 37.