Power win on last-second field goal, improve to 10-3
PHILADELPHIA — Indoor football is built on quarterbacks filling the air with footballs and wide receivers snatching those balls for big plays.
But fate and two kickers — one who justified his coach’s trust in him, another who was hurt on the game’s first play — decided the Power’s 57-56 victory against the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday night before a crowd of 7,804 at Wells Fargo Center
Power coach Ron James put the game on the right foot of kicker Julian Rauch, who booted a 23-yard field goal on the last play of the game.
Rauch missed two extra-point attempts earlier in the game, but James wasn’t worried. Rauch is now 4 for 4 on field-goal tries this season.
“It was a no-brainer,” James said.
The victory gives the Power (10-3) a seven-game winning streak and a franchise-record victory total.
The Soul (7-6) had taken the lead on quarterback Dan Raudabaugh’s 2-point conversion run with 35 seconds left following a 3-yard touchdown pass to V’Keon Lacy. But the Soul was operating at a disadvantage after their kicker, Carlos Martinez, hurt his leg on the opening kickoff.
The Soul went for a 2-point conversion after each of their touchdowns and were successful on four of eight. But they needed someone to kick off, and Bryan Robinson, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman, was the chosen one at the end of the game. His onside attempt went out of bounds, putting the Power within field-goal range at the 13.
When the Power reached fourth down, James told quarterback Tommy Grady to bait the Soul defense with a hard count. T.J. Langley jumped offsides, the Power had a first down, and Rauch took care of the rest.
Grady threw seven touchdown passes, completing 21 of 34 attempts for 197 yards and an interception.
Wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez, fighting the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain, caught 13 passes for 144 yards and five scores. Rookie Tyrone Goard had two touchdowns, giving him 11 in the past three games, but he hurt his knee and missed most of the game. The Power trailed 28-27 at halftime before taking a lead and losing it twice in the second half.
“We keep bouncing back,” James said. “We won seven in a row for a reason and that reason is we are learning how to play this game and we are developing a winning mentality.”
The Power didn’t take their first lead until the third quarter, but a controversial call by the officials gave them a big boost.
Power defensive back Al Phillips broke up a pass from Raudabaugh, and the football appeared to hit the turf. Yet, officials awarded Phillips the interception over loud protests from Soul co-majority owner Ron Jaworski.
That led to 13 points by the Power in a 1:37 span, 37 seconds when Grady hit Rodriguez for a 12-yard touchdown, and linebacker James Bryant recovered the ensuing kickoff off the net for another score.