Fifty-one second-half points helped the Soul end a three-game losing streak with a dominating 84-48 victory over the Iowa Barnstormers Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
The win improved the Soul to 7-8, which puts them one game behind the Tampa Bay Storm (8-7) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Conference.
In order for the Soul to catch the Storm, they are going to have to possibly win out, which will be easier said than done. Next week, the Soul host the Orlando Predators (8-6), who currently sit in first place in the Southern Division.
They then host the San Jose Sabercats (10-4), who are atop the Pacific Division. The Soul close out the regular season with the in-state rival Pittsburgh Power (12-3), who are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak, including a last-second victory over the Soul back on June 14.
The Storm, who just suffered a loss to the Cleveland Gladiators (13-1) Friday, have a tough road ahead of them as well. They have to play the Sabercats and the Spokane Shock (8-7) on the road before hosting the Gladiators in the season finale.
Either way, the Soul have to play like it’s the postseason, and it started with Saturday’s win over the Barnstormers.
“This is playoff football mode for us,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said after the game. “This was a big win for us to give us confidence as we continue to make our push to make the playoffs. There are still things to work on, but we will take positives from this one and build off it.”
The Soul went into halftime trailing the Barnstormers (6-9), 34-33. Two defensive stops (one being a safety) and touchdowns on three straight possessions helped the Soul score 17 unanswered points during the third quarter.
The onslaught continued into the final period, as the Soul outscored the Barnstormers 34-14, including 56-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back James Romain as time expired and with the game firmly in hand.
The Soul were led by quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, who posted one of his better outings of the season. He completed 25 of 32 pass attempts for 247 yards and tossed six touchdowns.
Two of his touchdowns went to wide receiver Tiger Jones, who led the team with eight receptions for 99 yards. Fullback Derrick Ross posted another stellar game, scoring three rushing touchdowns to go along with 26 yards on six carries.
Defensively, the Soul were led by Teddy Jennings, who racked up four sacks. The Soul collected five overall. The defensive unit also picked off Iowa’s backup quarterback Brian Reader on two occasions.
The Soul’s playoff push continues July 7, when they host the Predators for Military Appreciation Night at the Wells Fargo Center. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.