Wranglers leave Soul singing the blues
The City of Brotherly Love was generous to the Austin Wranglers in their first trip to Philadelphia as they topped the Soul 43-38 at the Wachovia Center. With tonight's win, the Wranglers move to 7-3 and the Soul fall even at 5-5 on the season.
In what was a tale of two half's this evening, the Wranglers overcame a 14-0 deficit to begin the game, as the Soul got on the board first. Wranglers quarterback John Fitzgerald demonstrated his leadership tonight settling into a rhythm that saw him completing 23-of-38 passes for 296 yards and six touchdowns, his most passing yards all season.
After the rocky start, Fitzgerald found a wide-open Sedrick Robinson in the Soul end zone to ignite the Wranglers passing attack on the 23-yard touchdown pass to end the first quarter. He went on to score another touchdown to finish the game with five receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Performing well on special teams, Robinson returned four kicks for 91 yards, earning him the Ironman of the Game honor.
Against the Soul, the obvious difference maker tonight was offensive specialist Derrick Lewis who had his most dominating performance of his short AFL career. Lewis tallied 150 yards receiving on eight catches with four receiving touchdowns, to lead all receivers. With touchdowns of 15, 17, 30 and 49 yards, Lewis earned his first Offensive Player of the Game honor.
Getting over a rough first quarter, the Wranglers defense picked up dramatically giving Soul quarterback Tony Graziani much less time to pass while eliminating the open passing lanes. In the second half, the Soul were held to just 17 total points, with the Wranglers scoring 30.
Leading the defense was defensive specialist Donvetis Franklin who posted eight tackles and one pass breakup. During the course of the game, Franklin also grabbed two Graziani passes for interceptions, but due to penalty flags, they were overturned. Also applying pressure on the Soul was newcomer, lineman Bernard Holsey who joined the Wranglers team this week.
Kicking also played a huge part in the Wranglers win as it got off to a rough start. Inactive tonight was the usual long snapper Dane Krager, so Aaron Humphrey and Henry Bryant shared the duties. After two botched snaps, the Wranglers were successful on a Todd Sievers kick from 54 yards out, his longest of the season, which extended the lead to six points with 6:49 remaining in the game.
The Soul came within five points following a Mike Brown touchdown catch with 22 seconds remaining in the game. Following the touchdown with an onside kick, the Soul were unsuccessful on the try, as Lewis recovered for the Wranglers. Torrance Marshall ran out the clock for the Wranglers on a rush for two yards to cement the win.
After a short one-game road trip, the Wranglers return home for two key Southern Division match ups against the Georgia Force next Sunday at 3 p.m and the Tampa Bay Storm on April 15. For Wranglers tickets and information, call 512.339.3939 or log onto the Wranglers website at austinwranglers.com.
• Discuss this story on the Arena Football League (1987-2008) message board...
Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from March 31, 2006
- Wranglers leave Soul singing the blues - Austin Wranglers
- Rattlers showed more bite in March - AFL I
- Storm Activate Dickerson, Wiren and Penright - Tampa Bay Storm
- Destroyers present ZOOperstars Sunday - Columbus Destroyers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.