From the start of the Soul’s 54-29 win over Atlantic City, they seemed to be two steps ahead of the Blackjacks.

Soul fullback Adrian Ferns provided a much-needed lift in the first quarter to a depleted Soul receiving corps, rushing for a pair of touchdowns. Rookie receiver BJ Bunn’s TD reception gave the Soul a 20-0 lead.

“It was about being on the same page,” Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh said. “We felt confident. I could feel it every drive and we scored every time we had it. That’s crucial.”

The team’s starting wide receiver Aaron Wascha missed his third straight game and is said to be week-to-week while recovering from a ligament strain. He was moved to injured reserve this week.

While the offense’s production hasn’t missed a beat without Wascha, the Soul’s defense has struggled with consistency.

“It’s hard to win by more than two scores in this game," Raudabaugh said. “When the defense makes plays and we’re able to capitalize on it, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a well-oiled machine, but we’ve got to do it again.”

Two weeks ago, the Soul’s defense gave up 35 points to the 1-7 Columbus Destroyers, who sit at the bottom of the AFL standings. Last week, they gave up 48 points to the middle-of-the-pack Washington Valor.

Sunday, the Soul held the Blackjacks to just one touchdown in the second half. They did receive a bit of help when Blackjacks quarterback Randy Hippeard went down and didn’t return. Former University of Maine quarterback Warren Smith came in to relieve Hippeard.

The Soul improved to 4-4 while the Blackjacks fell to 3-5. The Soul also have the tiebreaker in the standings, since they beat Atlantic City, 48-41, in Week 1. With four more games and a bye week in between, the Soul remain in control of their own destiny, sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot.

“We knew this was a must win, just for the tiebreaker over them,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said.