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Week 9 Recap: Talons at Gladiators

Sunday May 19, 2013

San Antonio Talons (4-4) opened up Week 9 of the season with a 57-33 win over the Cleveland Gladiators (2-6) at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Talons quarterback Nick Hill finished with 239 Yds passing and 3 TDs and also, proved to be San Antonio's best offensive weapon of the night.

The Talons began the game with a quick score to take the lead 7-0, as the offense continued its dominant play of late. The Gladiators though wasted no time in responding and came back with a score of their own, tying the game on a 12yd TD rush by QB Chris Dieker.

The Talons defense though would make a big stand on the Gladiators next possession and kept the game deadlocked at seven a piece. Nick Hill would take advantage of the defensive stop, pushing his way into the end zone on a 1-yard QB keeper.

The second quarter began, as the Gladiators though showed that they had no intension of going out without a fight in this one. The big play came on a long TD pass by Dieker and the Gladiators were right back on the board tying the game at 14-14. The usually dominant defensive line of the Talons was suddenly being pushed on their heels by the Gladiators offensive attack.

The scoring wasn’t over though just yet. The Talons continued to roll when Xavier Lee reeled in a TD pass from Nick Hill, regaining the momentum and the lead at 21-14. Lee continues to show flashes of greatness, and could be a star in the making for this team.

With less than ten minutes in the quarter, Gladiator’s starting QB Chris Dieker was injured on a big hit and QB Brian Zbydniewski was forced to come into the game. To everybody’s surprise though he came in and somehow kept their offense rolling too, tying the game at 21-21.

A huge return though on the ensuing kickoff gave the Talons great field position and a chance at extending their lead. They did just that, capitalizing on another chance in the red zone on a long TD catch by D.J. Stephens. The talons now had the lead at 28-21 with 6 minutes left to play in the first half. They later would extend their lead to 35-21 as things were looking up for Nick Hill and the offense.

The Defense also woke up towards the end of the half and forced a huge fumble on a sack by Jamar Ransom.The Gladiators challenged the call but the call stood and the Talons offense, was set up with great field position deep in Gladiators territory. The Talons failed to capitalize on the opportunity though, as kicker Stefan Demos missed a 33 yd FG off of the right upright.

The Gladiators would then drive the football right back down the field with a chance to cut the lead before halftime. But Talons DL Tim McGill would not let the Gladiators get any closer, blocking a 32 yd FG attempt by Aaron Pettrey end the half.

Nick Hill and Xavier Lee led the Talons offensive charge in the first half. Hill threw for 127 yds and 3 TD’s, one of them being to Xavier Lee who recorded his 2nd TD in as many games with the Talons. The defense was also doing it’s job, causing the Gladiators to turn the ball over on their final two possessions of the half.

Fireworks began early in the third quarter. QB Brian Zbydniewski was pressured hard by the Talons defensive line and was called for intentional grounding, in his own end zone. The result was a safety and the Talons immediately extended their lead to 37-21 to begin the second half.

The first mistake of the night for the Talons would come from QB Nick Hill, who was picked off by Gladiators DB Mario Norman looking for D.J. Stphens over the middle of the field. The Talons defense was not intimidated by any means on this night, as Talons DB Fred Shaw would come back and make a huge interception on the Gladiators following play.

Talons QB Nick Hill appeared to be heading a different direction though in the second half. He was picked off for the second time in the half, this time by Gladiators DB Jackson LaRoche. The quarter ended with only two total points scored and the Talons still leading 37-21.

Heading into the final quarter, the Gladiators took advantage of the Hill’s big miscue as WR Dominick Goodman broke a tackle and ran into the end zone, cutting the Talons lead to 37-27 early on in the 4th quarter. The Gladiators continued to ride the momentum wave they were on as, Thyron Lewis took it to the house on a long pass from Zhydnlewski. Another missed extra point though by Aaron Pettrey left the game at 37-33 halfway through the 4th quarter.

The Talons needed a TD desperately on their next drive and they got just that. The Talons put together a three play 45 yard-drive, with the score coming on a12 yd TD touch pass by Nick Hill to OL Moqut Ruffins. The TD was the first of the season for the O-linemaan and gave the Talons, a 44-33 lead with five minutes left to go.

Jamar Ransom finished the game strong for the Talons, putting an end to any hopes of a Gladiators comeback on this night. In three plays, Ransom returned two interceptions for touchdowns giving the Talons a comfortable 57-33 lead late in the 4th quarter. The interceptions by Ransom were two of the six interceptions that the Talons defense recorded on the night, contributing to a big victory over Cleveland 57-33.

San Antonio returns home on Friday, May 24, 2013 to take on the Spokane Shock for Military Appreciation Night. Kickoff is on at 7:30 p.m. and will celebrate our military heroes from all branches. All active and reserve members who show up in uniform will receive free admission and their guests receive 50% off of admission. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 210.227.TEAM.