Gladiators Battle Soul In Reg Season Finale

MATCHUP In a preview of a first-round playoff matchup, the Cleveland Gladiators (8-9) will close the regular season against the American Conference leading Philadelphia Soul (14-3) Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.  The Gladiators clinched a playoff berth with a 59-42 win over Spokane on Saturday, and will meet the Soul in Philadelphia to open the postseason on Saturday, August 15th at 5:00 p.m.  Last week, Philadelphia topped New Orleans 61-28 at home on Sunday.  Philadelphia has won the two previous meetings against the Gladiators this season after the Gladiators took both regular season meetings and a playoff matchup against Philadelphia in 2014.
 
LAST TIME OUT The Gladiators scored the game’s first 21 points on Saturday at home against Spokane, and held at least a two-score advantage throughout in defeating the Shock 59-42.  Shane Austin threw six touchdown passes in the game, giving him 98 on the season.  Austin is now just two touchdown passes away from tying John Dutton’s single-season Gladiators record of 100 from 2010.  Collin Taylor reeled in five touchdown grabs, while Thyron Lewis also had a touchdown catch.  Marrio Norman, a First-Team All-Arena defensive back last season, returned to the Gladiators lineup against Spokane.
 
WHO TO WATCH: GLADIATORS Collin Taylor notched five touchdown receptions against Spokane last week, elevating his team-leading and career-high total to 41 on the season.  Taylor is the first Gladiators to top 40 touchdown catches in a season since Ben Nelson reached 47 in 2010.  The Gladiators team record for touchdown receptions in a single season is 48 by Otis Amey in 2008.
 
WHO TO WATCH: SOUL Marco Thomas picked up four receiving touchdowns for Philadelphia last week, and he now has 39 touchdown catches on the campaign, tying a career-high.  Thomas is also one catch away from tying his career-high total of 152, and he has 1,724 receiving yards on the season.
 
TUNE IN Catch all of Saturday’s action, live from Downtown Cleveland, beginning at 7:00 p.m. and airing live on 92.3 The Fan and MY 43 WUAB.  Doug Plagens and Dustin Fox will be on the call.