Barnstormers Trumped by Gladiators
Saturday April 5, 2014
Iowa Unable to Hold Cleveland from Undefeated Record
Once again, the Iowa Barnstormers started off the battle strong, this time in a road game at the home of the Cleveland Gladiators. In a promising first quarter, the Barnstormers defense made scoring difficult with an interception by Tramain Thomas and a forced fumble by Mike Lewis followed by a Frank Trotter recovery. The offense kept up their end of the deal by putting points on the board early, a touchdown brought in by Darius Reynolds. Marco Thomas added reliable effort by hauling in a 33-yard touchdown pass. Former Barnstormer, Collin Taylor was the only retaliating factor for the Cleveland Gladiators in the first quarter of the game.
Cleveland’s QB Shane Austin took control of the second quarter after replacing QB Chris Dieker during the team’s second series of the game. Throwing up two touchdown passes and hauling in one of his own, he quickly became a threat to the Barnstormers defense. Austin’s tallied statistics for the night brought him 259 yards and six touchdowns. Proving to be a key connection once again, M. Thomas had an end zone appearance with a 39-yard completion from QB Carson Coffman. Coffman also hauled in a solo six points, finishing up the first half trailing the Gladiators, 26-27.
Coming in the second half neck and neck, the Iowa Barnstormers were barely being outplayed. Trailing by one touchdown at the conclusion of the third quarter, touchdown efforts by M. Thomas were not enough to bring Iowa a two-win streak. The Gladiators prevailed, 50-47. The leading receiver of the night, M. Thomas accounted for 163 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Controlling a cleaner game, Coffman completed 30 of 44 passing attempts, didn't allow any interceptions for the night, and threw for a season-high of 330 yards.
This match-up was the fifth-ever series match-up between the Iowa Barnstormers and the Cleveland Gladiators. A tie-breaking game, the Gladiators came out on top with a 3-2 series record and are dominating the Eastern Division with their 3-0 record. With plenty of opportunity left in the season, the Iowa Barnstormers still have a chance to regain dominance as the rivals are scheduled to meet twice more before the season’s end.
Next weekend, the Barnstormers finally return to Iowa for their 2014 season home opener against the San Antonio Talons (0-4).