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Gladiators suffer 69-40 loss in New Orleans

Sunday June 2, 2013

CLEVELAND - A wild bounce on the opening kickoff turned the tables against the Cleveland Gladiators (2-8) for the rest of the night, as they fell short in New Orleans by a 69-40 score against the VooDoo (2-8). Dominick Goodman led the way for the Gladiators with 12 catches and a pair of touchdowns. Chris Dieker returned to the Gladiators lineup after missing last week's game with an injury, completing 27 passes, including four for touchdowns.

New Orleans' opening kickoff bounced off a bar and was recovered by the VooDoo at the six yard line, setting up the game's first play: a six-yard touchdown pass from former Gladiators quarterback Kurt Rocco to Donovan Morgan just 35 seconds into the game. New Orleans made the extra point, taking a 7-0 lead.

Less than three minutes later, the Gladiators answered to tie the game at 7-7; the last time the game would be at a tie score. Chris Dieker found Thyron Lewis open for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Morgan would find the end zone twice more in the first quarter for New Orleans, and four times in all in the first half to help the VooDoo to a 42-20 lead at halftime.

Momentum looked to be on the Gladiators side when they struck for the first touchdown of the second half; a Derik Steiner nine-yard touchdown run with 11:02 remaining in the third quarter to cut the New Orleans lead to 42-26, but that's the closest the Gladiators would come to the VooDoo the rest of the game.

With 1:53 remaining in the third quarter, Dieker, who was sacked five times in the game, was pressured and hit, causing the ball to float into the hands of New Orleans defensive back L.J. Castile. Castile took the interception 46 yards for a touchdown, giving New Orleans its first 30-point lead of the game, 56-26.

New Orleans scored a second defensive touchdown when Cameron McGlenn returned an interception for a touchdown with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter. Dieker would score the Gladiators final touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run with 5:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to pull the Gladiators to within a 63-40 margin.

The Gladiators return home Friday night at 7:30 PM to host the Iowa Barnstormers at Quicken Loans Arena.

NOTES: Dominick Goodman tied a season-high with 12 catches... he has 47 catches over his last five games... Thyron Lewis entered the game leading the Gladiators with a 15.7 yards-per-catch average, and finished Saturday's game with two grabs for 41 yards and a touchdown... Carlese Franklin had a season-best seven catches for 74 yards, as well as eight kickoff returns for 168 yards... Lenny Wicks led the way for the Gladiators with 6.5 tackles.