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Gladiators trounce Pittsburgh 55-28, Stay perfect on season

Saturday April 26, 2014

 CLEVELAND, OH - Never slowing down after scoring the first three touchdowns of the game, the Cleveland Gladiators (6-0) remained undefeated with a 55-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Power (3-3) Saturday night before a crowd of 11,087 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Gladiators remain atop the American Conference’s East Division while continuing their best start in team history. Shane Austin led the way for the Gladiators, as the quarterback tossed six touchdown passes and ran for another. Dominick Goodman had three touchdown catches, while Tyrone Collins had a pair and Jason Jones hauled in a touchdown grab. The Gladiators have their second and final bye week of the campaign next week.

An 18-yard touchdown strike from Austin to a leaping Dominick Goodman ignited the attack for the Gladiators on the first possession of the game, as Pittsburgh trailed for the duration after Goodman’s first touchdown 1:57 into the action. Goodman finished with five catches and 67 yards receiving. With 8:28 left in the first quarter, Austin ran for a seven-yard touchdown, then found Goodman for an eight-yard touchdown in the final four minutes of the frame, putting the Gladiators up 21-0 late in the first quarter. The Gladiators offense was assisted by the defense, which forced Pittsburgh to turn the ball over on downs on their first two drives. Overall, the Gladiators defense held Pittsburgh to five-of-13 on third down and two-of-seven on third down in the game.

Pittsburgh attempted to rally, scoring touchdowns late in the first quarter and early in the second quarter to pull to within 21-14, but back-to-back receiving touchdowns for Tyrone Collins regained the three-score edge for the Gladiators. Collins’ touchdowns came with 5:16 and 0:53 left in the second quarter. Overall, Collins hauled in five catches for 49 yards. Aaron Pettrey’s 33-yard field goal to close the first half gave the Gladiators a 38-21 halftime lead.

The third quarter saw just two scoring plays, and the second of which answered a Pittsburgh touchdown and gave the Gladiators a 45-28 lead through three quarters. Offensive lineman Jason Jones, activated as an eligible receiver, completed a catch-and-run play with a 15-yard scamper to the end zone, giving the Gladiators their 45-28 lead late in the third quarter.

Defensively, the Gladiators were perfect in the fourth quarter. Marrio Norman led the way for the Gladiators with 10 total tackles in the game, while LaRoche Jackson added 9.5 tackles. A key fumble recovery by defensive back Dominic Jones late in the fourth quarter all but sealed a Gladiators victory Saturday, as they rolled to a 55-28 finish.

The Gladiators are idle next weekend before they meet the Los Angeles KISS on May 10 at Quicken Loans Arena for a 7:00 PM kickoff.

NOTES: The Gladiators are 6-0 overall, and 3-0 in the American Conference… The Gladiators are 2-0 against Pittsburgh this season; they topped Pittsburgh on the road to open the season by a 63-53 score, and will see the Power once more this season on May 31 at Consol Energy Center… Goodman has 24 catches over his last three games, and has at least one touchdown in his last five games… Austin has at least 16 completions and at least three touchdown passes in each of his last five games… Austin finished Saturday with 201 passing yards on 16-of-27 passing and six touchdowns.