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Eight TDs by D'Orazio lead Soul to first ArenaBowl

Jul 12, 2008 - 9:04 PM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Matt D'Orazio and the Philadelphia Soul put an abrupt end to the surprising playoff run of the Cleveland Gladiators.

D'Orazio threw for 184 yards and eight touchdowns as Philadelphia rolled to ArenaBowl XXII with a 70-35 victory over Cleveland in the National Conference championship on Saturday.

It will be the first trip to the ArenaBowl for the top-seeded Soul, who posted the best record in the league during the regular season at 13-3.

The Gladiators, who managed to win just two games last season before moving the franchise out of Las Vegas, advanced the conference championship after edging the second-seeded Georgia Force on the road last week.

However, Cleveland ran out of answers on Saturday as D'Orazio tossed four touchdowns in the first half to give Philadelphia a 35-14 lead with 4:36 remaining before halftime.

Although they managed to cut the deficit to 14 points on a scoring run by Marlion Jackson in the closing minutes of the first half, the Gladiators fell behind, 49-28, when Mike Brown returned a kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown.

Larry Brackins had seven catches for 92 yards and three TDs and Brent Holmes also scored three times for the Soul, who await either San Jose or Grand Rapids in the ArenaBowl in New Orleans on July 27.

Raymond Philyaw threw for 303 yards and four TDs but also made two of Cleveland's three turnovers.