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Gladiators score team-record 86 points, top Iowa

Sunday June 8, 2014

 CLEVELAND, OH - On the strength of a 51-point first half, the Cleveland Gladiators (10-1) set a new single-game team scoring record by defeating the Iowa Barnstormers (6-6) 86-49 Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena before a crowd of 9,857. The 86 points is also the most scored in an Arena Football League game this season. Quarterback Shane Austin registered seven touchdown passes and accounted for nine total touchdowns, while three different Gladiators receivers hauled in multiple scores. Dominick Goodman paced the receiving game with five catches for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Dominic Jones amassed 141 kickoff return yards on five tries. Defensively, the Gladiators recovered three fumbles and intercepted the Barnstormers once. The Gladiators finish their two-game homestand next Saturday with a 7:00 PM game against the New Orleans VooDoo.

Austin capped off the Gladiators opening drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Iowa lost a fumble on their first drive, and Austin found former Barnstormers receiver Collin Taylor in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown strike with 9:13 left in the first quarter to stretch the Gladiators lead to 14-0. Taylor would finish the game with five catches for 49 yards and three touchdowns, and also intercepted a pass on defense. Iowa countered with a 48-yard touchdown catch from Darius Reynolds with 7:11 left in the first quarter, but the Gladiators had a quick response of their own when Thyron Lewis caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Austin with 5:17 left in the opening frame. Lewis finished the game with two touchdowns.

Lewis’ touchdown in the first quarter was the first of four straight Gladiators touchdowns; a sequence that carried into the second quarter and gave the Gladiators an upper-hand that would not be surrendered. In the first 10:26 of the second quarter, Goodman and Lewis caught touchdown passes from Austin, and Austin added another touchdown of his own on a two-yard run to extend the Gladiators lead to 41-7. The Gladiators and Barnstormers traded scoring plays on two drives from each squad to close the second quarter, with Aaron Pettrey’s 25-yard field goal as time expired in the first half giving the Gladiators a 30-point halftime lead, 51-21.

Iowa opened the second half with a touchdown to cut the Gladiators lead to 51-28, but the Barnstormers onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff led to a Joe Phinisee six-yard return for a touchdown with 12:43 left in the third quarter to once again grow the Gladiators lead to 30 points, 58-28. Collin Taylor’s 23-yard touchdown catch with 8:32 left in the third quarter moved the Gladiators into a 65-28 lead, which marked a new season-high in points for the Gladiators. Tom Gilson’s touchdown catch late in the third quarter pushed the Gladiators over the 70-point plateau for the first time this season, and gave Cleveland a 72-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Gladiators and Barnstormers alternated touchdowns through the fourth quarter, and Goodman’s 37-yard touchdown catch with 2:52 remaining in regulation, followed by an extra point from Pettrey, vaulted Cleveland into an 86-42 lead and secured a new single-game point record for the Gladiators. The previous record of 83 points was set in 2008.

The Gladiators host New Orleans and look for the two-game sweep of the VooDoo next week. The Gladiators next game is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:00 PM. All Gladiators games air live on 92.3 The Fan.

NOTES: Lewis’ two touchdowns give him 21 touchdown catches on the season… Austin improved to 6-1 as the Gladiators starting quarterback… Taylor has four receiving touchdowns over his last two games… Goodman has a touchdown in all but one game this season… The Gladiators swept the three-game season series against Iowa… Dominic Jones led the way for the Gladiators defense with 9.5 tackles; Marrio Norman tallied six tackles… The Gladiators were 3-4 on third down, and never had to run a play on fourth down… The Gladiators scored 86 points and ran just 33 offensive plays in the game.