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Gladiators fall to Sharks 46-43

Saturday May 9, 2015

Jacksonville’s four consecutive touchdowns, which spanned from the late stages of the first half through the third quarter, proved to be too much for the Cleveland Gladiators (4-3) to overcome in a 46-43 loss to the Sharks (2-5) on Saturday night. A Quicken Loans Arena crowd of 9,872 was on hand as the Gladiators Amarri Jackson led all receivers in the game with 135 yards and three touchdowns. Collin Taylor also added a pair of receiving touchdowns for the Gladiators, who turned the ball over five times in the loss. The Gladiators are back on the field Friday at The Q when they host the New Orleans VooDoo at 7:00 p.m., and the game airs live on 92.3 The Fan.

The Gladiators defense helped the Gladiators gain an upper hand in the first half with a goal line stand on the Sharks first drive of the game. Following Jacksonville’s turnover on downs, the Gladiators took a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Shane Austin to Dominick Goodman, who finished the game with seven catches and 78 yards. The two squads exchanged touchdowns throughout the first half, and the Gladiators led 21-19 at halftime. Austin found each of the Gladiators starting wide receivers on touchdown passes in the first half, as Jackson had a four-yard touchdown catch with eight seconds left in the first quarter, and Taylor reeled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Austin with 4:21 left in the second quarter. After Taylor’s second quarter touchdown, however, Jacksonville went on a 26-0 run and outscored the Gladiators 20-0 in the third quarter.

The Gladiators posted 22 points in the fourth quarter and allowed just seven to the Sharks, but were unable to complete their comeback bid. All three fourth quarter touchdowns for the Gladiators were from 21 yards or more, as Austin connected with Taylor from 24 yards just six seconds into the fourth quarter. Austin hooked up with Jackson for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter, and after a successful two-point conversion pass to Goodman, the Gladiators trailed 39-36.

Down three points, the Gladiators attempted an onside kick, but did not recover, and Jacksonville extended their lead to 46-36 on a three-yard Derrick Ross touchdown run with 6:28 remaining. Austin found Jackson on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter to again pull the Gladiators to within three points, but Jacksonville ran the clock out on their final drive to preserve the victory.

The Gladiators host New Orleans Friday at 7:00 p.m., with the game airing live on 92.3 The Fan.

NOTES: Austin had six touchdown passes and 288 yards on 21 of 32 passing; he has 43 touchdown passes in seven games this season… Taylor has 12 touchdown catches in his last four games, and 13 total touchdowns in that span… Taylor had four catches and 63 yards in the game… The Gladiators outgained Jacksonville 303 to 243 in total yardage… Jacksonville possessed the ball 7:04 longer than the Gladiators… Follow the Gladiators on Twitter @CLEGladiators, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandgladiators, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/clevelandgladiators.