Soul top Destroyers for record 10th win
They scored 16 straight points to break the game open and take over possession of first place.
After dropping their previous two outings, the Soul finally got their franchise-record 10th victory of the season last night, beating the Columbus Destroyers, 51-43, at the Wachovia Center.
With the score tied, 28-28, in the third quarter, the Soul scored 16 consecutive points to take control.
Touchdown catches by wide receivers Larry Brackins and Chris Jackson, and a safety by defensive lineman Gabe Nyenhuis, fueled the rally.
The Soul (10-2) are 6-0 at home this season. They were a half-game behind Dallas in the Eastern Division race entering last night's action, but the Soul pulled ahead after Arizona edged Dallas, 55-54.
"We just needed to get a win," Soul coach Bret Munsey said. "It didn't matter how."
Jackson, who also caught a pair of passes for scores in the first half, moved into second place on the AFL's all-time list with 305 touchdown receptions. His second TD gave his team a 14-13 second-quarter edge.
"I know my role on this team, and I know the accolades will come if I fill that role," said Jackson, who is in his first season with the Soul.
After a 43-yard catch-and-run by Brackins with 19.3 seconds remaining in the first half, the game was tied at 21 when intermission arrived.
Columbus (2-10) was on a four-game losing streak that included a 76-55 defeat by the visiting Soul on April 21.
In that game, the Destroyers scored on their first three plays from scrimmage. But the Soul came back behind Columbus native Matt D'Orazio, who relieved starting quarterback Tony Graziani after the veteran aggravated a knee injury in the second quarter.
The score was knotted, 28-28, when D'Orazio took over.
Last night, the Soul scored first after Columbus quarterback Matt Nagy was sacked twice on the Destroyers' game-opening possession, and the team's attempt to salvage something failed when kicker Mark Lewis missed a 46-yard field-goal try.
When the Soul offense took the field, the host took a 7-0 lead when D'Orazio hit Jackson for a 4-yard touchdown with 8 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Columbus made it 7-6 on a short run by fullback Harold Wells at the end of the quarter, but the Destroyers mishandled the snap on the conversion kick.
"I felt like we needed to play two more solid quarters," Munsey said of being tied with Columbus at the break. "When you have a good team, you always feel good."