06/11/2011 7:33 PM
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Gladiators snapped a two-game losing skid, 62-48, over the Georgia Force in front of 5,029 at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night. The victory sends Cleveland to 7-5 on the season and 5-1 at the friendly confines of The Q. The Force drop to 7-6 in 2011 and to third place in the American South. The win allows the Gladiators to currently reside in the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Conference.
Cleveland quarterback Kurt Rocco finished 23-of-29 passing for 212 yards and six touchdowns on the night, earning him Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the game honors. Rocco completed touchdowns to five different receivers in the game, a season high. Dominick Goodman caught 10 passes for 122 yards and a score, giving him a team-high four games this season with double digit receptions.
The Gladiators defense, which has been a cornerstone to their success in 2011, forced four turnovers in the contest. Riddell Defensive Player of the Game Joe Phinisee had 10 total tackles (nine solo, two assisted), to go along with two interceptions. Phinisee took one pick back 27 yards to paydirt in the first quarter, the team’s second interception return for a touchdown this season. Joe’s two interceptions push his total to three on the year, while Mike Bragg added the third to send his season number to four.
For the Force, quarterback Brett Elliott went 31-of-42 for 318 yards and three touchdowns, also adding a rushing score. Elliott also had those three interceptions and a fumble in the game. Benji McDowell ran for three touchdowns, the highest number of rushing scores Cleveland has allowed all season. Wide receiver Larry Shipp nabbed 13 grabs for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
The Gladiators only trailed for 4:08 in the contest and their 62 point total was their highest since a Week 3 win over Tampa Bay on March 27th. The mark was the third time in 2011 that Cleveland exceeded the 60-point plateau. Anthony Hoke extended his franchise record for blocked kicks, stopping his fourth attempt on the year.
Thyron Lewis was solid in his third start at wide receiver this season, nabbing five catches for 46 yards and two touchdowns. In filling in for the injured Troy Bergeron these three starts, Lewis has 27 catches for 307 yards and six receiving scores. Quorey Payne had a kickoff return of 56 yards for a touchdown and an 11-yard touchdown catch in his second contest this year.
The Gladiators head to the City of Fountains for their next game to take on the Kansas City Command on Sunday, June 19 at 2:00 pm! The boys will return home to The Q Saturday, June 25th at 7:00 pm for their first-ever matchup with the San Jose SaberCats! SINGLE-GAME TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW! For more information, visit www.clevelandgladiators.com or call 216.685.9000 today!
--2011 GLADIATORS FOOTBALL – CATCH IT LIVE!--