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Gladiators Trip Up Thunder, 61-40

Sunday July 6, 2014

 Next Saturday’s Game vs. Los Angeles Looms Larger

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The 4-11 Thunder kept it close for three quarters in a penalty-filled game in Cleveland, but the 14-1 Gladiators pulled away in the fourth for a 61-40 win.

The Thunder put up 350 yards of offense, but four interceptions and two turnovers on downs proved to be too much to overcome against the American Conference’s No. 1 team.

Despite three first-half interceptions, the Thunder found themselves tied at 34 before LaRoche Jackson took the ensuing kickoff back 56 yards for the first special-teams touchdown Portland has surrendered this season. When the Thunder started the fourth quarter with a turnover on downs, the Gladiators took the ball, punched it in on their first play on a pass to Dominic Goodman, and never looked back.

Goodman scored five of the Gladiators’ eight touchdowns on only eight receptions.

The Thunder nearly forced their way back into the game midway through the fourth, but a forced fumble in the bounced directly back into Jackson’s hands. On the next play, Varmah Sonie extended and nearly had his second interception of the evening, but as he tried to pull it down, the ball bounced forward into Gladiator wide receiver Collin Taylor’s hands for a first down. The Gladiators capitalized with another touchdown to Goodman later in the drive.

The Thunder receiving corps did well in WR Eric Rogers’ absence, with Jeffrey Solomon leading all receivers in receptions (10) and Jamar Howard picking up a team-record 161 receiving yards, but a few key drops helped stall some late drives.

Rowley finished the game with 25 completions in 42 attempts for 297 yards and five touchdowns, but four interceptions marred his evening. Darron Thomas entered the game with the Thunder down 21 with under a minute to go and completed three of his seven passes for 49 yards.

The Thunder will look to bounce back in a huge game against the Los Angeles KISS at home on July 12. Both teams are competing for the final playoff spot in the National Conference. For all the latest news and discussion on the Portland Thunder, follow the team on Facebook (facebook.com/PDXThunder), Twitter and Instagram (@PDXThunder).

About the Portland Thunder

The Portland Thunder are a professional arena football team of the Arena Football League from Portland, Oregon, USA. They play their home games at the Moda Center. 2014 marks the franchise’s first season. Tickets and Sponsorships are available for the 2014 season. For more information, email us at info@portlandthunder.com or call 503-773-4235.