Gladiators Bring It Together
In the first drive of the game, Las Vegas was once again unable to score from within the red zone. A Whelihan pass intended for Marcus Nash, who finished with eight catches for 77 yards an a pair of touchdowns, was intercepted in the end zone by Nashville’s Kahlil Carter (that was the only turnover of the game). When Coach James was asked about the play he responded that "We thought that Nash was held and we just kept on playing after that."
After that, Whelihan went 26 of 39 for 267 yards and five touchdowns.
The Las Vegas defense continued to shine, holding the Kats to thirty-two points. At halftime, the Kats led 19-17. In a case of turnabout, the Gladiator defense held Nashville scoreless in the third quarter, allowing Las Vegas to take and hold the lead for the rest of the game.
Tony Zimmerman rushed the ball in from the 1-yard line to bring the Kats to within two points. On the next drive Whelihan completed another pass to Nash for a touchdown that made the score 40-32 with forty-nine seconds left. While not a record, the two teams did rack up twenty-five penalties (this time the Gladiators had only nine).
The offense and Whelihan showed significant improvement, but still are not producing enough to be an Arena Bowl champion (Las Vegas is eighth in total offense). Coach James commented, "Offensive improvement will come when Clint (Dolezel) gets off the bench. Meanwhile, we have won three games with three quarterbacks."
Dolezel is on injured reserve with a broken finger. Coach James predicted that he might be back in time for the Gladiator game against Columbus on March 12th.
While there is no good time for an injury, if the team can have success in this weaker part of their schedule, Dolezel will be back to lead the team against division opponents for the rest of the season and run at the Arena Bowl.
This week, the Gladiators (3-2) take on the Austin Wranglers (1-4) at the Thomas & Mack. If the defense plays to their current form, Whelihan should be up to the task of leading Las Vegas to another win.