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Gladiators maintain perfection with win over KISS

Sunday April 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA -  Shane Austin threw five touchdown passes and was not intercepted as the Cleveland Gladiators improved to 4-0 and maintained their lead in the Arena Football League’s East Division with a 40-30 victory over the Los Angeles KISS (2-2) Saturday night at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Thyron Lewis hauled in three touchdown catches, while Austin also found Dominick Goodman and Tyrone Collins in the end zone. Overall, Austin completed 21 of his 37 passes for 243 yards. With the victory, the Gladiators have equaled their win total from last season.

In the first quarter, the Gladiators struck first when quarterback Shane Austin, making his first start of the season, connected with receiver Dominick Goodman from five yards for a touchdown, giving the Gladiators a 6-0 lead with 5:32 left in the opening frame. Goodman led the Gladiators with 77 receiving yards on a team-high nine catches on the evening. The game took on a back-and-forth theme on the ensuing Los Angeles possession, as KISS quarterback J.J. Raterink found Markee White for a four-yard touchdown pass. A converted extra point gave the KISS a 7-6 lead through one quarter. However, the first quarter was the only one in which Los Angeles outscored the Gladiators.

Thyron Lewis had the first of his three touchdowns 2:25 into the second quarter when Austin found him for an 11-yard strike, and Corey Howard capped off the Gladiators second-quarter scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run with 3:23 remaining in the half. The Gladiators took a 19-17 lead into halftime. The two-point advantage at halftime was the largest lead for the Gladiators at the midway point this season; they led by a single point at the half last week against Iowa, and trailed at the half in each of their first two outings.

Los Angeles took a 23-19 lead with 10:30 left in the third quarter, but the Gladiators answered just over six minutes later when Austin completed a four-yard touchdown pass to Tyron Collins with 4:12 left in the third quarter. Collins had four catches for 37 yards in the game. An Aaron Pettrey extra point gave the Gladiators a 26-23 lead. Los Angeles would regain the advantage by a 30-26 score with 3:12 left in the third quarter after a Samie Parker touchdown, but that would mark the final Los Angeles scoring play of the evening.

With 2:06 left in the third quarter, Austin spotted Lewis again for a touchdown; this time from 35 yards. The only scoring play of the fourth quarter for either team would once again involve the combo of Austin and Lewis; with 5:24 left in the game, the duo connected from 25 yards to give the Gladiators some insurance, and ultimately a 40-30 advantage.

The Gladiators return to action at 10:00 PM Eastern next Saturday, April 20, in Spokane against the Shock. The Gladiators return home on Saturday April 26 at 7:00 PM for another matchup against their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Power.

NOTES: This marks the first time the Cleveland Gladiators have been 4-0… Lewis has 26 catches for 399 yards and eight receiving touchdowns on the season… Saturday marked the first-ever meeting between the Gladiators and KISS, who have another matchup scheduled for May 10 at 7:00 PM at The Q… Austin has attempted 87 passes this season without being intercepted… With 27 catches this season, Goodman holds the team lead… The Gladiators averaged 5.7 yards per play; nearly a full yard more than Los Angeles at 4.7 yards per play… Neither team committed an interception or fumble in the game.