Gladiators Battle Soul In Round 1 Of Playoffs

MATCHUP For the second straight week, the Cleveland Gladiators (8-10) will take on the Philadelphia Soul (15-3), but with this week’s game comes a chance to advance to the American Conference Championship Game.  The Gladiators fell to the Soul in the regular season finale by a 48-33 score last week, and the two teams are set to battle in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season Saturday at 5:00 p.m. from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.  Last year, the Gladiators knocked Philadelphia out of the playoffs when a last-second field goal by Aaron Pettrey propelled the Gladiators to a 39-37 first round win.  Philadelphia won all three games in the season series this year.

LAST TIME OUT The Gladiators fell 48-33 to the Soul in the regular season finale last week at Quicken Loans Arena.  Shane Austin tossed three touchdown passes, which elevated his season total to 101.  Austin’s 101 touchdown passes set a new career high and a new Gladiators single-season record, besting John Dutton’s 2010 total of 100.  Collin Taylor had a pair of touchdown catches, and Thyron Lewis also added a touchdown grab.  Defensively, the Gladiators have now held back-to-back opponents under 50 points, and the 48 points scored by Philadelphia was the third-lowest single-game point total for the Soul this season, and the lowest point total of any of their wins.

WHO TO WATCH: GLADIATORS Taylor finished tied for sixth in the AFL in receiving yards during the regular season with 1,597, and his 43 touchdown catches placed him third.  His 144 catches led the Gladiators.  The last time the Gladiators played in Philadelphia, on July 11th, Taylor had a pair of touchdown catches.

WHO TO WATCH: SOUL Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh finished the season eight yards shy of 5,000 for the season, and led the AFL with 119 touchdown passes.  Raudabaugh threw just 12 interceptions during the regular season.  In the first round last season, Raudabaugh threw five touchdown passes but the Gladiators defense held him to 20 completions on 42 passes.

TUNE IN Catch all of Saturday’s action beginning at 5:00 p.m. on 92.3 The Fan.  Doug Plagens with call the play-by-play.  The game can also be seen on CBS Sports Network, and fans are encouraged to attend The Official Gladiators Playoff Watch Party at Dave & Buster’s in Westlake.