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Gladiators suffer first loss of season in Pittsburgh, 48-34

Saturday May 31, 2014

 CLEVELAND, OH - An opportunistic Pittsburgh defense forced the Cleveland Gladiators (9-1) to turn the ball over four times as the Power (8-3) handed the Gladiators their first defeat of the season, 48-34, Saturday evening at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Quarterback Shane Austin completed 27 of 45 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns in the loss. Gladiators wide receiver Dominick Goodman led the team with 11 receptions, 105 yards, and two touchdowns. Next up for the Gladiators: they host Iowa at 8:00 PM next Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The two teams battled to a 7-7 score through one quarter. The Gladiators responded to Pittsburgh’s opening drive touchdown with a one-yard touchdown run by Austin on Cleveland’s first possession. The score remained tied into the early stages of the second quarter. The Gladiators tied the score twice during the game, but never held a lead.

Pittsburgh opened up a 21-7 lead with back-to-back touchdown passes from Tommy Grady to Tyrone Goard over a 6:46 span in the second quarter, but the Gladiators were able to pull to within a score as the first half expired. With no time on the clock, Austin hurled a shovel pass to a wide-open Thyron Lewis in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter. An Aaron Pettrey extra point cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 21-14 at the half. Lewis would finish the game with six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.

An 11-yard touchdown pass from Austin to Goodman with 8:45 left in the third quarter would vault the Gladiators into a tie, 21-21. The scoring play was the only one of the third stanza for the Gladiators. The two squads were tied at 21-21 until 1:10 remained in the quarter when, for the third time in the game, Goard found the end zone. Goard’s third touchdown came on a 10-yard pass from Grady, giving Pittsburgh a 28-21 lead through three quarters.

Pittsburgh took momentum with 9:38 left in the game when a deflected pass from Austin was intercepted by Power linebacker Arvell Nelson and returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Under two minutes later, a powerful individual effort from Collin Taylor pulled the Gladiators to within six points; Taylor took an Austin pass and plowed to the end zone to cap off a 14-yard touchdown catch. Pittsburgh, however, scored consecutive touchdowns with 5:19 and 0:56 remaining to put the game out of reach, making the score 48-28. Goodman pulled off a one-handed diving touchdown catch with 40 seconds remaining, but the scoring play was not enough to spark a late-game comeback for Cleveland.

The Gladiators are back on the field Saturday June 7 at Quicken Loans Arena against Iowa. All Gladiators games air live on 92.3 The Fan.

NOTES: Austin is 5-1 as the starting quarterback for the Gladiators this season… Austin has at least 16 completions and three touchdown passes in his last seven games played; six of which were as a starter… Austin’s rushing touchdown Saturday gives him eight on the season… Goodman has 82 receptions on the season; a total that ranks first among Gladiators… Lewis’ receiving touchdown was his 20th of the season… The Gladiators finish the season series against Pittsburgh with a 2-1 record.