Philadelphia Soul game notes
SOUL vs. DESPERADOS: THE FACTS
Date: Saturday, May 6, 2006
Kickoff: 4:00 PM ET
Site: Wachovia Spectrum
Officials: Referee: Tom McCabe, Umpire: Paul Frerking, Head Linesman: Kelly Saalfeld, Line Judge: Bob McElwee, Back Judge: Tony Lombardo
THE GAME CAN BE HEARD...
On SportsTalk 950 in Philadelphia with Jacob VanRyan handling the play-by-play and Team Ambassador Keita Crespina adding color analysis . Also, online at www.philadelphiasoul.com.
THE GAME CAN BE SEEN...
This week's game will be televised on OLN with Ari Wolfe (Play-By-Play), Charles Arbuckle (Color Analyst) and Rhea Hughes (Sideline Reporter) handling the game. The game will be on at 4:00 p.m.
THE SERIES - SOUL VS. DESPERADOS
This will be the sixth meeting between the Soul and Desperados. Dallas leads the series 3-2 and lost to the Soul in Week 9 in Dallas 55-51. Quarterback Tony Graziani led Philadelphia to victory in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 11 points.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
If the Soul win, it would
- Give the Soul a 3-3 record vs. Dallas
- Give the Soul a 8-7 overall record
- Give the Soul a 5-3 home record
THE SOUL'S LAST MEETING vs. Dallas (WEEK 9)
Offensive Player of the Game: Mike Brown (PHI)
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Eddie Moten (PHI)
Ironman of the Game: Sean Scott (PHI)
DALLAS, TX -- Tony Graziani did what few quarterbacks have been able to do this season - outshine Clint Dolezel.
Graziani threw five touchdowns, including the game-winner to Sean Scott in the final seconds, as the Philadelphia Soul recorded a 55-51 triumph over the Dallas Desperados, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Completing 26-of-48 passes for 363 yards, Graziani helped Philadelphia (5-4) rebound from last week's humiliating 53-20 loss to Columbus in which the team set a franchise record for fewest points in a game.
Graziani's biggest pass in this one came with 21 seconds remaining, when he hooked up with Scott for an 18-yard touchdown. The play capped a furious final minute in which Philadelphia took a 48-45 lead on a 19-yard pass from Graziani to Scott only to watch Dallas respond 10 seconds later on a two-yard TD strike from Dolezel to Dialleo Burks.
The two-time reigning Offensive Player of the Week, Dolezel completed 20-of-29 passes for 296 yards and six touchdowns. He entered with only three interceptions on the season but threw two in this one.
Will Pettis caught eight passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns and Burks added five catches for 72 yards and two scores for Dallas.
Mike Brown had nine catches for 113 yards and a touchdown and Steve Smith added eight grabs for 98 yards and two TDs for Philadelphia.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 7 27 0 21 55
Dallas 14 24 7 6 51
LAST WEEK'S SOUL GAME vs. New York
Offensive Player of the Game: Kevin Swayne (NYD)
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Angel Estrada (NYD)
Ironman of the Game: Mike Horacek (NYD)
UNIONDALE, New York -- Kevin Swayne caught a two-yard pass from Nick Browder with just under four minutes left to give the New York Dragons a 65-58 victory over the Philadelphia Soul.
Behind four TD passes by Browder, including three to Swayne, a net recovery and a safety, the Dragons (9-5) had a seemingly comfortable 43-24 edge at the half.
After the two hooked up again to start the third period, the Soul (7-7) went on a 34-7 tear and took a 58-57 lead when Connell Maynor completed a six-yard TD pass to Rob Milanese with nine minutes left.
Browder completed 17-of-26 for 178 yards with seven TDs, two interceptions and three sacks. He added two scores on the ground.
Maynor, who replaced starter Matt Sauk, was 13-of-21 for 118 yards and four touchdowns.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 SCORE
Philadelphia 10 14 21 13 58
New York 14 29 14 8 65
Brett Munsey (First Season)
Bret Munsey became the third head coach for the Philadelphia Soul and had posted a 7-7 record through the first 14 games. With an extensive coaching background, this is Munsey's first head coaching position in the League.
Munsey, 37, joined the Soul after serving on Orlando's staff for three seasons under Jay Gruden. After joining the Predators in 2003 and serving as the team's offensive coordinator and wide receivers/defensive backs coach, he was promoted to assistant head coach in August of 2003. This role also included his director of player personnel and defensive coordinator roles throughout the last two seasons.
In 2005 the Predators finished with a 10-6 regular season record and lost in the conference finals to the Georgia Force. The team ranked third in the League in scoring defense (47.2 ppg), fifth in total defense (269.2 ypg) and second in pass rating defense (98.9).
In his role as defensive coordinator, Munsey organized Orlando's defensive game plans and served as defensive backs coach. His 2004 defense ranked first in the league in scoring defense (43.1), total defense (236.8 ypg) and pass rating defense (95.7).
The Soul look to capitalize on Munsey's defensive knowledge. Philadelphia was the worst in the League against the run last season, allowing 576 yards. They also allowed the second most touchdowns in the League and made the least amount of tackles. Cutting down on stats like these are Munsey's top priority.
In his role as assistant head coach, Munsey handled several administrative duties for the Predators - including planning and conducting training camp, tryouts and player housing. He was also in charge of recruiting and handled contract compliance with the League.
In his first season with the Predators, Munsey served as offensive coordinator and coached the wide receivers and defensive backs.
Munsey came to the Predators from the Carolina Cobras, where he served as defensive coordinator. Under his guidance, the Cobras were ranked in the top five in the Arena Football League in many defensive categories and came within one play of earning a spot in the semifinals.
Prior to his stint in Carolina, Munsey served as head coach and director of football operations for the Tennessee Valley Vipers of the af2. During his first season as a head coach, Munsey led his team to a 14-2 regular season record (15-3 overall). His defense ranked in the top five in all major categories and three defensive players were named to the "All-af2" team.
Will McClay (Third Season)
Will McClay is in his third season at the helm of the Dallas Desperados. McClay was named the Desperados head coach on Feb. 5, 2004 - just three days prior to kicking off the 2004 season - after former head coach Joe Avezzano announced his resignation to return to the NFL. In McClay's second season leading the Desperados, he improved the club's 6-10 finish in 2004 to 8-7-1 last season and will continue to work to bring the club the successes they had in their first two seasons in the league.
In addition to his head coaching responsibilities, McClay was the club's defensive coordinator. His defense finished the 2005 season with the league's stingiest defense in opponents completion percentage, allowing just 58.0% of opposing quarterbacks to complete passes. His defense finished second in the league in passing yards-per-game allowed (238.3) and third in the league in yards-per-game allowed (261.8).
Before taking on the role of head coach, McClay spearheaded Dallas's defensive attack. He was hired as the team's inaugural defensive coordinator in 2002, and his work helped the club make two playoff appearances and win a division title in its first two years of existence. He remained the team's defensive coordinator after taking over as head coach and, for the first time in club history, enjoyed stability in the defensive backfield.
McClay's first two seasons leading Dallas's defensive charge were riddled with injuries and personnel movement, forcing him to piece together new defensive units on a regular basis. With a more stable defensive corps in 2004, the defense witnessed improvements in total yards per game allowed (288.7 in 2003 to 260.1 in 2004) and passing yards per game allowed (267.9 - 2003, 238.4 - 2004) while holding steady in rushing yards per game allowed (21.6 - 2003, 21.8 - 2004). The defense also saw an increase in sacks as they finished third in the league with 19. McClay's project for the 2004 season was to introduce former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Colston Weatherington to the rigors of the AFL. Under McClay's watch, Weatherington was named to the AFL's All-Rookie team, finishing eighth in the league in sacks (5.5), while leading the team with 7.5 tackles for losses, five blocked kicks and five quarterback pressures. In 2003, the Desperados defense consistently came up big at key moments in games. McClay had to work defensive specialist Jermaine Jones into the lineup when he came off the exempt list four weeks into the season, and Jones responded with a team record 73.5 tackles to earn selection to the AFL All-Rookie team. Will Pettis also made his indoor debut and earned second-team All-Arena and All-Rookie honors for his twoway performance, while lineman Tom Briggs earned first-team All-Arena, All-Ironman and AFL Lineman of the Year honors after finishing with career-high numbers in sacks (10.5), tackles (43.5), forced fumbles (four) and pressures (eight).
SOUL'S NOTES AND TRENDS
The Soul's Week 9 game against the Desperados was the first Soul game of the season that was determined by an outcome of less than 10 points with a final score of 55-51. Since then, four games have come down to the wire and have been decided by 10 points or less.
THIRD QUARTER CURSE BROKEN
For the first time since Week 4 against the New York Dragons, the Soul were able to score more than seven points in the third quarter. In Long Island last week, Philadelphia tallied 21 points and was deemed the second most they have scored in third quarter all season (27 vs. New York, Week 4).
Backup quarterback Matt Sauk was released on Monday following the Soul's loss to the Dragons last week. On the season, he completed 109-of-166 passes (65.7 %) for 1,046 yards and 20 touchdowns despite three interceptions. Sauk fumbled 12 quarterback - center exchanges which resulted in six turnovers (six recovered) in his six games at quarterback.
Dallas has suffered only two losses this season and one of them came against the Soul. Since the Blue and Grey defeated the Desperados in Week 9, Dallas has won five straight games.
EIGHT MEN OUT
This past week against New York, the Soul had eight different players register catches in the game. It was the team's second highest amount of receivers to catch passes in a game. The highest ever recorded by Philly is nine receivers at New York in Week 17 on May 30, 2004.
It's been six weeks since rookie standout WR/LB J.J. McKelvey has seen action in a contest. While playing against the Desperados in Week 9, McKelvey suffered a sprained ankle. On the season, he has 28 receptions for 478 yards with 11 touchdowns. Defensively, he has tallied 15 total tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
Dallas enters this week's game with the best record in the League at 12-2 and have already clinched the best record in the National Conference and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
RUN TO VICTORY
When Philadelphia runs the ball more than 10 times a game they have compiled a 7-4 record. When they don't run the ball at least 10 times they have suffered defeat four times without a victory.
IN A RUSH
The Blue and Grey ruled the ground last time the Soul faced Dallas totaling three rushing touchdowns on 10 carries. Chad Dukes, Wes Ours and Sean Scott each had a score in the contest. The Desperados lead the League in defense against the rush allowing only eight yards per game.
Kevin Gaines had his 39th career interception last week against the Dragons. Gaines has recorded four interceptions this season and is four interceptions shy of being tied for fourth on the all time list.
FOURTY FOUR OUT
Steve Smith is 44 yards away of reaching 4,000 receiving yards in his career. He has recorded 931 yards this season on 80 receptions with 14 touchdowns.
PASS AND CATCH
Back-up quarterback Connell Maynor caught one pass in the first half against the Dragons last week for 15 yards and came into the game to start the second half at quarterback. He completed 13-of-21 passes for 118 yards with four touchdowns. He also ran the ball five times for 29 yards.
21 IS LEGAL
The Soul have picked off the second most passes in the League with 21 through 14 weeks (New York-23). They also lead the League in sacks with 21.
EDDIE THE CRUISER
Eddie Moten intercepted his eighth pass of the season and he is ranked third in the League. He is also ranked fourth in the League in total tackles (86) and pass breakups (18).
GIVE ORR TAKE
Raheem Orr leads all rookie FB/LB's in sacks with 3.5. He is also second in the League among rookies in tackles for losses with 3.5 to teammate Mike Mabry (4.0).
Soul QB Tony Graziani has faced Dallas QB Clint Dolezel six times in his prolific career, with a record of 5-1. The first and only loss to Dolezel came last season when the Philadelphia fell to the Las Vegas Gladiators in Week 12 after a heart-breaking 27-yard touchdown completion with just one second left on the clock.
KUBIAK THE QUARTERBACK...
Soul Offensive Coordinator Jim Kubiak played quarterback for the Dallas Desperados for two seasons and received second team All-Arena honors in 2003. He finished his career completing 816-of-1,237 passes for 9,961 yards with 188 touchdowns despite 36 interceptions in four seasons.
THE LONE SOUL FROM THE LONE STAR
Eddie Moten is the only Soul player to hail from Texas. The Dallas native will face his hometown team the Desperados for the second time this season. He played at Texas A&M-Kingsville for his junior and senior years. He recorded 61 total tackles, nine interceptions and 17 pass break ups in his two seasons.
Dallas OS Terrill Shaw started the first three games for the Soul last year before being put on injured reserve and eventually released. The seven-year veteran signed with the Desperados as a free agent in January. He recorded 10 catches for 94 yards on offense and recorded three tackles on defense in the first three games for Philadelphia last season.
Desperado WR/DB Coach James Fuller served as defensive coordinator for the Soul in its first two seasons. Fuller also became Philadelphia's interim head coach for the last 11 games of last year, posting a 4-7 record. Also, Desperados Assistant OL/DL Coach Corey Mayfield was a member of the Soul's inaugural season as a player.
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