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Pittsburgh Power Fall To Cleveland Gladiators, 71-58

Monday July 8, 2013

 CLEVELAND, OH (July 6, 2013) - Despite a season high offensive effort, the Pittsburgh Power (3-12) fell to the Cleveland Gladiators (3-12), 71-58, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 6,857.

Cleveland received the ball to start the game and turned the ball over on the first series as Pittsburgh’s Dominie Pittman recovered a fumble by Gladiator quarterback Chris Dieker. On the next play from scrimmage, Pittsburgh quarterback Steven Sheffield found Julian Talley with a 42-yard touchdown reception. The Gladiators got the ball back, but this time were able to find the endzone on a 2-yard touchdown run by Dieker, the Russell Athletic Player Of The Game. After a missed extra point, the Power held the lead, 7-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Pittsburgh’s Chris LeFlore fumbled the return in the endzone which resulted in Cleveland taking a 13-7 lead.

The Gladiators started the 2nd Quarter with a fumble recovery as Power fullback/lineman Beau Elliott lost control of the ball close to the goal line. Cleveland ultimately marched down the field with a Dominick Goodman 7-yard touchdown grab to extend their lead to 20-7. Sheffield wasted no time getting the Power back on the board, with a 44-yard pass to Mike Washington, which closed the gap to 20-14. Cleveland answered with Dieker tossing a 6-yard touchdown to Carlese Franklin, but Pittsburgh wasn’t finished for the half. On 4th-and-5, Sheffield threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Talley, his second of the contest and the Cutters Catch Of The Game as he fell over the endzone boards into the fans. The Gladiators scored on their next drive, Dieker’s 3rd touchdown throw of the first half. Power kicker Julian Rauch ended the half with a 20-yard field goal. Cleveland held the lead, 35-23.

The Power had control of the ball to start the second half, and in just over four minutes, took the lead. First, Sheffield connected on a 21-yard pass to Talley. On the kickoff return, Pittsburgh’s Alvin Ray Jackson forced a fumble. On the next drive, Talley pulled in his fourth touchdown of the night and the Power were up, 37-35. Pittsburgh’s momentum would stop short, however. After Dieker tossed a touchdown to Thyron Lewis to take back the lead, Sheffield’s pass on the next drive was tipped and intercepted by Cleveland defensive back Joe Phinisee, the Riddell Defensive Player Of The Game. Dieker found Goodman once again on the next drive, as the Gladiators extended their lead to 49-37.

Things looked to be moving back into Pittsburgh’s favor, when Cleveland was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. With the Power just 12 yards from the Gladiator endzone, Cleveland’s Marrio Norman intercepted Sheffield’s pass and ran it back for a touchdown (AFL Highlight Of The Game) to put the Gladiators up, 57-37. Pittsburgh scored again, but after another interception thrown by Sheffield, back-up quarterback Shane Austin entered the game on the Power’s next offensive series. Austin found Talley to give him his fifth touchdown reception of the contest, tying a Power single-game franchise record. The teams would exchange touchdowns in the closing minutes of the game, and the Gladiators would ultimately triumph, 71-58.

The Power return home next Saturday, July 13 against the San Jose SaberCats in the final home game of the 2013 regular season. Kickoff from CONSOL Energy Center is at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and broadcast locally on TribLIVE Radio SportsTalk.

Cleveland’s Chris Dieker

Cleveland’s Joe Phinisee

Cleveland’s Cody Pearcy

Pittsburgh’s Julian Talley’s over-the-wall endzone touchdown catch in the 2ndQuarter

Cleveland’s Marrio Norman’s 50-yard interception return for touchdown in the 4th Quarter