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Wranglers Fall Short Against Soul

May 27, 2007 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

AUSTIN, TX - Following last week's loss in the final minute of the game, the Wranglers remained at home for their second consecutive game at the Frank Erwin Center, this time taking on the Philadelphia Soul in front of 12,969 energetic fans. Unfortunately, the game ended in the same fashion as last week, as the Wranglers fought until the end, but came up short as they lost 76-66.

The first quarter was a rough ride for the Wranglers, but receiver Derrick Lewis got the team back on the track as he hauled in a 17-yard touchdown from quarterback Lang Campbell, bringing the score to 10-7 Philadelphia. Head Coach Brian Partlow felt a little bit tricky on the following kickoff as he opted to attempt a trick onside kick that was unfortunately recovered by Philadelphia defensive back Brian Mance.

Following a quick Soul score, the Wranglers were in need of a quick score of their own to prevent a large first quarter deficit. After Campbell scrambled and missed a wide-open Otis Amey, it came to a third-and-goal from the five-yard line, and this time Campbell relied on his feet to do the work as he ran it in for the score to bring Austin within three points, 17-14.

The Wranglers went into the second quarter down 24-14 and needed to get something going on both sides of the ball to close the gap. The Austin offense took care of business on a second-down play on the goal line where Amey scored from two yards out on a misdirection play that left him an easy walk into the end zone. However, the Austin defense would not get the job done on the following possession, as they could not figure out quarterback Tony Graziani and the rest of the Soul offense, allowing another score that increased the Philadelphia lead to 10 at 31-21.

Sensational Austin receiver and kickoff returner Sedrick Robinson would provide a much-needed spark on the following kickoff, as he electrified the crowd, returning it 53 yards for the score that brought Austin within three points at 31-28 with less than six minutes left to play in the half.

Following another failed onside attempt that led to a Philadelphia score, the Wranglers offense continued their hot streak as Campbell heaved the ball down field to find an open D. Lewis for the Austin touchdown, bringing the score to 37-35 Philadelphia.

With under a minute left to play in the second quarter, the Austin offense had the ball at their own 12-yard line and desperately needed a score before halftime. The Wranglers offense marched down the field completion after completion until Campbell finally found receiver Sakeen Wright open in the end zone for a six-yard score, cutting the Soul's lead to two points, 44-42.

Following a last-second 43-yard field goal from Philadelphia kicker Todd France, the Wranglers went into halftime down five points, 47-42.

After deferring the opening toss, the Wranglers chose to receive the ball in the second half. Taking his team down the field, Campbell found his Mr. Reliable on the night, connecting with D. Lewis for his third touchdown reception of the game, giving the Wranglers their first lead of the game at 49-47.

With under a minute left to play in the third quarter, Robinson put the memory of his previous touchdown return in the past, as he brought the Austin crowd to their feet, yet again, on a miraculous 56-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, keeping the Wranglers in the game, down 61-59.

Starting the fourth quarter, the Austin defense finally seemed to show signs of life as defensive lineman Mike Williams put the pressure on Graziani, hitting him hard and forcing an incomplete pass. The Philadelphia offense got back on track as they drove the ball down to the Austin Wranglers eight-yard line before defensive back Damon Mason forced a fumble on the goal line that was recovered by Austin lineman Rob Schroeder, turning the game in Austin's favor.

The Wranglers had the ball, and a chance to regain the lead, with more than 12 minutes to play. After finding D. Lewis two previous times on the drive, Campbell looked his away again for the score, giving D. Lewis his fourth touchdown reception on the night and Austin the lead at 66-61.

After a drive that knocked almost eight minutes off the clock, Graziani found receiver J. J. McKelvey for the three-yard score, giving the Soul the lead 69-66 with less than two minutes to play in the game.

With less than a minute to play, the Wranglers had the ball on the Philadelphia three-yard line, needing a touchdown to take the lead, or a field goal to tie up the score. On a second-down play, Philadelphia's Dwayne Missouri dealt the final blow to the Wranglers-faithful as he knocked the ball loose from Austin fullback Dane Krager, and McKelvey recovered the fumble for Philadelphia.

After a Philadelphia touchdown, Campbell was intercepted by Soul defensive back Mike Brown to end the game, 76-66.

On the brightside, Wranglers receiver Derrick Lewis had a career-high 13 receptions and 226 yards receiving, to go along with four touchdowns, which tied his career best. Also, the 66 points by the Wranglers was the most they have scored this season. In addition, Sedrick Robinson set new career and team records with 238 kickoff return yards. He also tied his previous Wranglers record with two kickoff return touchdowns.

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