Mustangs outbattled by Gladiators, 69-32
Saturday June 30, 2012
First half turnovers prove insurmountable in costly loss
Four first half turnovers, three resulting in Cleveland touchdowns, ultimately were the difference in a game that was controlled by the Gladiators from start to finish. Jared Jenkins, Taurian Washington, and Dwayne Eley, Jr. each posted at least 85 yards receiving for Milwaukee, but it was not enough to help the Mustangs keep pace with Cleveland.
A barrage of scoring defined the first half, but unfortunately for the Mustangs, it was in favor of the Gladiators. After Milwaukee moved swiftly down the field on its first possession, Gino Guidugli’s pass was picked off by Maurice Williams and returned 50 yards for the score. However, Luis Vasquez blocked the extra point, which was recovered and returned for two points by Jamar Love, to cut the lead to 6-2.
Dwayne Eley, Jr. fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the ball was recovered by Brian Brikowski and returned six yards for a touchdown to extend the Gladiators lead. After Jose Martinez added a 31-yard field goal for Milwaukee, fullback Jeramie Richardson pounded the ball into the end zone from three yards out to give Cleveland a 20-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Cleveland outscore Milwaukee 21-7 and seize the momentum. After Dominick Goodman hauled in an 11-yard touchdown catch, Joe Phinisee scooped up another Eley, Jr. fumble and raced 22 yards back for the score. The Mustangs lone points of the quarter came on a 44-yard strike from Guidugli to Taurian Washington, but the joy was short-lived as Goodman caught a second touchdown pass and provided the Gladiators with a 41-12 halftime lead.
Cleveland took a 55-12 lead by the end of the third quarter after a pair of touchdown receptions by Carlese Franklin. But on the first series of the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Shane Boyd connected on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jared Jenkins to chip at the lead.
After recovering an onside kick, Milwaukee looked to score again, but Boyd was intercepted by Levy Brown, who returned it to the house to give the Gladiators a 62-19 advantage. The Mustangs rolled the dice on their next series, running a reverse to Washington, who threw the ball to an open Jared Jenkins for a three-yard touchdown pass.
Boyd would dash into the end zone late in the game, but the Milwaukee Mustangs left Cleveland with a devastating 69-32 loss that seemingly crushes their playoff hopes with only three games to play.
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