06/19/2011 2:04 PM
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City Command outlasted the Cleveland Gladiators, 50-41, in front of 3,938 at the Sprint Center on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Gladiators fall to 7-6 and remain in second place in the American East. The victory snapped a two-game skid for the Command and improved their record to 5-9 on the season.
Both teams started out hot, each scoring two touchdowns on the opening four possessions. Cleveland then took advantage of a Kansas City fumble when quarterback Kurt Rocco found wide receiver Robert Redd for a seven-yard score for their first lead in the game midway through the second quarter. That however, would be the only Command possession in the entire game that they would not finish with a score.
Kansas City took a 26-20 lead into intermission after capitalizing on a Gladiator turnover on downs and never trailed the rest of the way after both squads traded scores throughout the second half. Kicker Brian Umstead missed two extra point attempts in the contest, but sealed the deal with 43 seconds remaining when he converted a 23-yard field goal attempt.
Rocco tossed for 258 yards and four touchdowns to just one interception, while adding a rushing score. Wide receiver Dominick Goodman snared in eight catches for 96 yards and two scores, both of which came in the first quarter. Fullback Russell Monk rushed for a score to give him nine on the season, taking him 13 games to match his total that he achieved in all of 2010.
National Guard MVP Stephen Wasil was stellar for the Command in his first start at quarterback this season, going 19-of-23 for 243 yards passing and five touchdowns. Wasil also carried the ball seven times for nine yards and two scores on the ground. Wide receiver Bradley Chavez earned Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game accolades for his efforts with eight grabs for 81 yards and three touchdowns.
Cleveland jack linebacker Mike Bragg finished with 3.5 total tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Bragg came into the game ranked sixth in the AFL in forced fumbles, adding one to his total for four this season. Mack linebacker Tim Cheatwood had three total tackles and two sacks on the afternoon, giving him a team-leading 7.5 quarterback drops this season.
Coming into the game, the Gladiators had the opportunity to take over sole possession of first place in the American East. Cleveland and Pittsburgh both currently stand at 7-6, with the Power owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Wide receiver Thyron Lewis had six catches for 97 yards and one touchdown. In his four starts this season, Lewis has 34 grabs for 404 yards and seven receiving scores.
The Gladiators come back home to The Q this 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!--