Power Comes Up Short Verses Soul

PITTSBURGH- There were more fireworks than just the ones that occurred at halftime at CONSOL Energy Center on Friday night when the Philadelphia Soul came into Pittsburgh and knocked off the Power in their home opener 84-59. in front of 7,094 fans.

Both teams got off to quick starts, with Philadelphia taking possession first. Right off the bat, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh and his wide receiver Donovan Morgan established a strong connection. Raudabaugh hit Morgan three times on the drive including a six-yard touchdown pass.

Bill Stull and the Power took the field and immediately called the Philadelphia score. Stull would find Mike Washington deep over the seam for the Power score. After a missed PAT, Pittsburgh trailed 7-6.

The good fortune continued to fall in the Power’s favor on the ensuing kickoff when Collin Wagner’s kick hit the crossbar and bounced around in the end zone before being recovered by Bryan Williams for another Power score. Another missed extra point gave the Power a 12-6 lead.

Philadelphia answered on their next drive when the Raudabaugh-to-Morgan connection was re-established. The two hooked up three times again for 36 yards and another score. The Soul took the lead 14-12.

The Power went back to work looking to retake the lead late in the first. Stull spread the ball around hitting three different receivers on the drive as Pittsburgh marched down the field. Tyre Young powered his way in from five yards out to put Pittsburgh ahead 19-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Pittsburgh squandered an opportunity when John Green intercepted a Raudabaugh pass and appeared to return it all the way for a score, but  he fumbled the ball into the end zone and Philadelphia recovered it for a touchback. The Soul took advantage, driving down the field for a touchdown, giving the Soul a 21-19 lead.

The back-and-forth battle continued in the second quarter as Stull orchestrated another drive for the Power. In the red zone, Stull hit Moqut Ruffins in the back corner to once again give the Power a lead going up 26-21.

Philadelphia began to take control in the middle of the second. Ross picked up his second score on the night when he rushed in for a four-yard score to regain a 28-26 lead. On the Power’s next possession, the Soul defense was able to force a P.J. Berry fumble and the offense took advantage of it when Raudabaugh and Morgan connected for their third score of the game.

Stull then found Randy Hymes on a 27-yard bomb to cut the deficit to two. The Power had another opportunity to regain the lead before the half when Larico Stevenson picked off Raudabaugh, but the Power drive stalled and ended on downs. As time expired in half, Ross pounded his way across the goal line to give the Soul a 41-33 lead at the half.

After the break, Stull and Hymes connected twice for 33 yards and a score that cut the Philadelphia lead to one.  Raudabaugh then hit Tiger Jones for a 30-yard TD to go back up by 8.

The ensuing kickoff would also be recovered by Philadelphia after Berry couldn’t handle it off the nets.  It took Raudabaugh one play to hit Larry Brackens to increase the Soul lead to 15.

After another Washington score, the Power were able to successfully convert an onside kick and then possession changed hands multiple times over the next few plays. Philadelphia would eventually get the ball back on a Rayshaun Kizer interception but as the Soul neared the end zone, Justin Parrish picked up a Raudabaugh fumble and rumbled 46 yards for a Power touchdown. Philadelphia would block and return the extra point, making the score 57-54 at the end of the third quarter.

Philadelphia started off the fourth the same way they started the game, with Raudabaugh finding his favorite target Morgan for a 30-yard score to increase the lead to eleven.

Late in the fourth Stull connected with Lonnell Dewalt for the score, which would be the last time Pittsburgh would find the end-zone. Philadelphia then capitalized on Power turnovers as home team failed to rally, ending a 84-59 Soul victory.

Pittsburgh hits the road next week for a Thursday night match-up with division rival Milwaukee.