After Marco Thomas beat a defender up the left sideline and caught a 42-yard touchdown on the Soul’s first offensive play, he ran across the back of the end zone and slapped hands with the fans in the first row.
It was only proper he’d introduce himself to the Atlantic City crowd early, as they’d hear from him all night.
Thomas caught five touchdowns as the Soul beat the visiting Las Vegas Outlaws, 51-43, Saturday at the inaugural DraftKings Boardwalk Bowl at Boardwalk Hall.
After only completing 6-of-14 passes in the first half, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh went 15-for-17 in the second half for 173 yards and five touchdowns as the Soul scored the first 27 points after halftime. He finished with 277 yards and he threw for seven scores. He leads the league with 65 touchdowns on the season.
“A lot of it I thought was us beating ourselves down there in the first half,” Raudabaugh said. “Guys started making timely plays. That’s what it’s about – making big plays at the right times.”
Thomas finished with eight catches for 125 yards.
“They kept trying to press him and he kept beating it,” Soul coach Clint Dolezel said.
The Soul trailed, 21-17, at halftime. Lonnie Outlaw caught the first two scores of the second half to put the Soul ahead. He also came down with an onside kick with 33.5 seconds left to seal the win.
Kent Richardson and James Romain each intercepted a pass in the second half. For Romain, it was his league-leading seventh of the season.
Sean Brackett threw for 261 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 43 rushing yards, for Las Vegas (3-6).
The Soul, who hosted the game, toured Boardwalk Hall yesterday and had a pep rally at Chickie’s and Pete’s on Saturday afternoon.
“The whole week was a little bit of a different setup for us,” Dolezel said. “The actual gameday was a little bit different. We had some pep rallies when we’re usually on our own, sleeping, getting our rest, things like that. But, it was for the right cause. We needed to get some fans out there. I think this was a good venue to come back to.”
The Soul won its second straight to improve to 9-1. After playing two straight games in Florida prior to Saturday, the Soul will return to the Wells Fargo Center to host the New Orleans Voodoo next Saturday at 6 p.m.
“It was nice to get back to Jersey from Florida,” Raudabaugh said. “I know that sounds ironic. It was nice to get back home and get in our normal routine.”