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Battered Soul lose their sixth straight

Quarterback Juston Wood was lost for the season in the 69-49 defeat by the Dragons.

With only a few seconds left on the clock at the Wachovia Center last night, a scuffle resulted in several New York Dragons players pouncing on a Soul lineman.

That ganged-up-on feeling was a familiar one for the Soul, who dropped their sixth straight Arena Football League game, 69-49.

"That was ridiculous," Soul coach Bret Munsey said. "It was embarrassing, and I'm not going to put my name on it."

Aside from a complete defensive meltdown, the Soul received more bad news on the injury front.

Quarterback Juston Wood left the game in the third quarter with a left-knee injury that will end his season. That setback makes the return of starting quarterback Tony Graziani even more urgent.

Graziani, who missed his fifth game last night, is out with a shoulder sprain until at least Monday. And the Soul (4-6) look as if they could use some kind of lift - emotionally and physically.

Munsey said he expected Graziani to play Monday at home against the New Orleans VooDoo, but he did not want to put undue pressure on Graziani to solve all of his team's woes.

"At the end of the day, I can't put that much pressure on the guy," the coach said. "We've still got to improve in other areas to win football games. . . . At the end of the day, I've got to have other people stepping up."

Leon Murray is the third quarterback the Soul has used since Graziani's injury. None has worked out.

Murray, who had played for the Dragons, joined the Soul last week and finished this game 6 for 15 for 85 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Wood left the game having connected on 17 of 30 passes for 204 yards and four TDs.

Billy Parker picked off a Wood pass in the first quarter and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown, giving the Dragons a 27-14 edge.

The Soul's defense looked as if it had been banged up as well.

The Dragons' 27 points to start the game were the most ever allowed by the Soul in the first quarter.

The Soul was called twice for roughing the passer on third-down plays and allowed the Dragons to score on nearly every possession in front of a crowd that was announced at 14,104 but looked much smaller.

"We didn't play any phase of the game well, and that was disappointing," Munsey said.

Dragons quarterback Aaron Garcia connected on 22 of 34 passes for 264 yards and eight touchdowns.

The game started with two touchdowns on two possessions, with each team scoring once.

The Soul entered halftime trailing, 48-35. It was mostly downhill for the home team after that.

Fullback/linebacker Bruce Blue left the game with a sprained neck for the Dragons (3-7).

Game summary, C6.