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Gladiators pull away from VooDoo in the second half, win 70-42

Saturday April 4, 2015

CLEVELAND - Dominick Goodman matched a career-high with five touchdown receptions and Quarterback Shane Austin passed for 272 yards and totaled eight touchdowns as the Cleveland Gladiators (2-0) pulled away from the New Orleans VooDoo (1-1) in the second half on Saturday night by a final score of 70-42. Wide receivers Amarri Jackson and Collin Taylor and fullback Jeramie Richardson each scored touchdowns and jack linebacker Joe Phinisee recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. The Gladiators return to Cleveland next Saturday to take on the Arizona Rattlers at 7:00 p.m. Next week’s game will be the home opener for the Gladiators, the game can be heard on 92.3 The Fan and can be seen live on MY 43 WUAB.

Cleveland got on the board first when Shane Austin hooked up with Dominick Goodman on their first drive for a nine-yard score. The Gladiators quickly followed that up with a defensive touchdown as defending Arena Football League MVP of the Week Joe Phinisee picked off an Adam Kennedy pass at the 3-yard line and walked into the end zone for the quick two-touchdown lead with 10:29 remaining in the first quarter.

New Orleans answered with their first score when Kennedy hooked up with wide receiver Marcus Smith on a four-play drive to pull within 14-7 with 7:20 left in the opening quarter. At the 2:33 mark, Austin found Goodman once again from five yards out to push the Gladiators led back up to two scores, 21-7. The VooDoo responded once again when wide receiver Chris Duvalt hauled in a 7-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left to pull New Orleans within a touchdown once again at 21-14.

In the second quarter Shane Austin took things into his own hands, scoring from one-yard out on a keeper to push the Gladiator lead back up to 28-14 with 11:30 remaining in the half. With 6:17 remaining, Kennedy closed the gap once again, as he completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Smith, his second receiving touchdown of the night. On the following drive, wide receiver Amarri Jackson found his way into the end zone for the first time, hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Austin to make it 35-21. The touchdown pass was Austin’s fourth of the night.

However, wide receiver Larry Beavers returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards for a VooDoo score, making the score 35-28 with 3:25 left in the half. After Shane Austin was intercepted on a fourth down play, the VooDoo drove down the field only for quarterback Adam Kennedy to give the ball right back as he fumbled after being blindsided by defensive lineman Anthony Degrate. Jack linebacker Joe Phinisee pounced on the turnover for his third fumble recovery of the year. The next play, Austin hooked up with Goodman for the third time on the night for a 14-yard touchdown to put Cleveland back up by two touchdowns, 42-28 at the half.

New Orleans started the scoring in the second half as the VooDoo offense worked its way down the field and quarterback Adam Kennedy scored on a sneak from one yard out to make the score 42-35. The theme of the night continued as the Gladiators answered quickly and moved down field for another score when Austin completed a nine yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Collin Taylor to put Cleveland back on top by two touchdowns. New kicker Adrian Trevino’s extra point made the score 49-35 with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.

After a key defensive stop, Austin and Goodman hooked up for the fourth time on the night with a 20 yard touchdown to put the Gladiators up by three touchdowns, 56-35, with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, former Gladiator wide receiver Carlese Franklin scored on a 2-yard run for the VooDoo to make the score 56-42, but the Gladiator offense returned the favor with a seven play drive capped off by a three yard touchdown run by fullback Jeramie Richardson, to make the score 63-42 with 8:46 left in the game. The Gladiators put an exclamation point when Austin found Goodman in the end zone for the fifth time on the night, an 11-yard score to put the game out of reach for good, 70-42 to cap off the scoring for the night.

NOTES: The Gladiators own a three-game winning streak over the VooDoo… Cleveland defensive lineman Mike Alston recorded a sack against his former VooDoo teammates in the third quarter… The Gladiators will face New Orleans two more times during the 2015 season, in Cleveland on May 15th, and at New Orleans once again on June 12th… Phinisee now has three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns through two games… Kicker Adrian Trevino, making his debut for the Gladiators, was a perfect 10-10 on extra points… Follow the Gladiators on Twitter @CLEGladiators and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandgladiators