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Gladiators unable to complete comeback attempt, fall to 0-3 on season

Sunday April 7, 2013

After overcoming a 14-point deficit , the Cleveland Gladiators (0-3) pulled to within three points of the Jacksonville Sharks (3-0) on four occasions, but were unable to complete their comeback attempt, falling 66-49 to the Sharks at Quicken Loans Arena Saturday night in front of 8,862 fans . Gladiators quarterback Brian Zbydniewski accounted for six Cleveland touchdowns; five throuixgh the air, and one rushing, and was not intercepted in the defeat. Dominick Goodman paced the Gladiators with 118 receiving yards and three touchdowns, including a long reception of 34 yards.

Jacksonville took a lead on the opening drive of the game, when Jeff Hughley capped off a three-play scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown catch from Sharks quarterback Bernard Morris. The Gladiators, however, countered, and tied the game when Goodman caught his first touchdown of the game; a five-yard strike from Zbydniewski with 8:06 remaining in the opening quarter.

Jacksonville took the lead for good when Hughley scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 3:33 remaining in the first quarter for the Sharks, and following a Gladiators turnover on downs, the Sharks jumped out to their 21-7 lead when Jeron Harvey hauled in a nine-yard touchdown with 9:28 left in the second quarter. At the half, Jacksonville held a 31-21 advantage.

Each team scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, with two different Gladiators scoring. Thyron Lewis caught a 16-yard touchdown with 12:43 left in the third, while Goodman pulled the Gladiators to within three points on a four-yard touchdown catch with 4:41 remaining in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Goodman would add his third touchdown on an eight-yard catch with 8:15 left in the quarter, but Jacksonville scored three times in the final frame to secure the win.

The Gladiators are off next week with a bye and hit the field again on April 20 in Philadelphia against the Soul at 7:00 PM. The Gladiators next home game is on Saturday, April 27, when the team hosts the Utah Blaze at The Q. All of the remaining Gladiators games can be heard on 92.3 The Fan.

NOTES: The Gladiators fall to 0-2 at home… Cleveland was 0-2 against Jacksonville last season… Zbydniewski was not intercepted after being picked off three times in last week’s loss at Tampa Bay… Five different Gladiators scored touchdowns in the loss: Zbydniewski, Derik Steiner, Jonathan Wilson, Lewis, and Goodman… In his Gladiators debut, LaRoche Jackson tied with Lenny Wicks for the team lead in tackles with five… Goodman picked up 157 yards on six kick returns, with a long return of 39 yards… The two teams combined for 18 penalties for a total of 111 yards.