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Gladiators Use Strong Second Half Surge to Defeat VooDoo

Sunday April 5, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – The Cleveland Gladiators (2-0) used an early set of quick scores and a big second half to stay ahead and defeat the New Orleans VooDoo (1-1) 70-42 Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.

The Gladiators answered nearly every New Orleans scoring drive throughout the first half to stay ahead. Cleveland was also able to capitalize on two critical first half turnovers by the VooDoo, including a five yard interception returned for a touchdown by Joe Phinisee on quarterback Adam Kennedy’s first throw of the game. Despite the early inteception, Kennedy finished the first half 10-of-16 for 133 yards and three scores. VooDoo defensive back Tracy Belton grabbed an interception on fourth and goal for the Gladiators with just over 20 seconds remaining in the half, but New Orleans was unable to capitalize.

 

The New Orleans offense was never able to get on track in the second half due to a smothering pass rush from the Gladiators. On the night the Gladiators finished with six sacks, including a pair by former VooDoo defensive lineman Mike Alston.

 

Cleveland was led on the night by Shane Austin who completed 21-of-31 passes for 272 yards and seven touchdowns as well as a score on the ground. Gladiator wideout Dominick Goodman finished with eight catches for 99 yards and a score. VooDoo rookie wideout Marcus Smith continued his strong start to life in the AFL with eight catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.


VooDoo kick returner Larry Beavers etched his name into the team’s record books as his 58-yard TD return tied a team high. Beavers joins former kick returner P.J. Berry who accomplished that feat against Pittsburgh in 2011.


New Orleans continues the three-game homestand as they host the Orlando Predators next Saturday night in the Graveyard. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Live video is available through ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN App., and fans can also listen live on Fox Sports Radio 1280 AM or on the iHeartRadio App.


MEDIA AWARDS:

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game - QB Shane Austin (CLE) 21/31, 272 yds, 7 TDs

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game - DB Joe Phinisee (CLE) INT, Fumble Rec, 6 tackles

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game - WR Marcus Smith (NOV) 8 Rec, 131 yds, 2 TDs

Cutters Catch of the Game - Marcus Smith catch on the wall, 1st Quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game - Phinisee Pick-Six, 1st Quarter

 

ABOUT THE NEW ORLEANS VOODOO

Playing their fifth season since returning in 2011, the New Orleans VooDoo play all their home games at the Smoothie King Center (formerly New Orleans Arena). Season and single game tickets can be purchased by contacting the sales department at 888-277-5526 ext. 109 or ext. 133 or by visiting ticketmaster.com. Like us on Facebook at “New Orleans VooDoo” and follow us on Twitter @AFLVooDoo.

ABOUT THE AFL

Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2015 season. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday, August 29, 2015 on ESPN.