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Soul turn to Holmes at receiver

He joins a team hit hard by injuries and out to halt a two-game losing streak.

Here's how things are going personnel-wise for the injury-battered Soul: On Thursday, wide receiver Brent Holmes was flown in to help fill a void at the position.

And tonight, when the Soul (9-2) host the Columbia Destroyers (2-8) in an Arena Football League Eastern Division game at the Wachovia Center, Holmes will be thrown into the fray with only two practices under his belt.

"He will play this week," said Soul coach Bret Munsey, who is without injured wide receivers Kenny Henderson (collarbone) and Darius Watts (ankle). "He's got some experience in this league, and he should be ready to step right in and contribute."

A native of San Antonio who played at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Holmes was on the practice squad of the Grand Rapids Rampage when he received the call from the Soul. Holmes spent two seasons playing in the Arena Football2 League before moving up to a spot with the Georgia Force last year.

How long Holmes will remain with the Soul is a week-to-week proposition, Munsey said. But with Chris Jackson, who has set single-season franchise records for points (198), touchdowns (33) and receiving touchdowns (33), nursing a calf injury, Holmes has an opportunity to impress the coach.

On the day he was contacted by the Soul, Holmes was expecting to be activated from Grand Rapids' practice squad. But an injury at another position scuttled that plan and Holmes was free to accept the offer from the Soul.

"I needed work, so here I am," Holmes said after going through his first workout with the Soul on Thursday at Giangiulo Field in Voorhees. "We have good leaders out here on the field and they're making my job easy. Each team has its own different quirks. The terminology is the main thing I need to get down."

With the Soul coming off back-to-back losses, the team could use the boost Holmes hopes to provide.

Dallas, at 9-1, is ahead of the Soul in the Eastern standings and, at 4-1, is up one win on the Soul in the division.

The Soul's latest defeat was a 63-62 stunner at Georgia on Monday. The hosts rallied to score the last 22 points of the game in less than three minutes. The Soul had a chance to win, but a 43-yard field-goal attempt was off as time expired.

The loss to the Force followed a 67-55 defeat on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators on May 2, and both came just after the Soul enjoyed a 57-28 victory over visiting Dallas in late April.

In its first meeting this season with the Destroyers, on April 21, the Soul came away with a 76-55 win at Columbus.

"We try to stay consistent around here and keep everybody on a positive note," said Munsey, who has six starters sidelined by injury. "We won nine in a row, and we're still 9-2 and at the top of the league. It was a disappointing loss on Monday and we know that. We just have to find a way to get back on our feet."


With the Phantoms' AHL season over, tonight's game was moved from the Spectrum. . . . A win would give the Soul a franchise-record 10 in a season.