Gladiators Look for Revenge Against Storm
Saturday, the Cleveland Gladiators (0-2) kick off Week 3 of the 2017 AFL season vs. the Tampa Bay Storm (1-1) at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL in the second of four meetings between the two teams this year. The Gladiators were defeated in Week 1 by Tampa at The Q by a final score of 46-40 and will again host the Storm at Quicken Loans Arena in Week 14 on Saturday, July 8th. Then, in Week 16, Cleveland will cap their four-game season series vs. Tampa Bay back at Amalie Arena on Saturday, July 22nd.
LAST TIME OUT
In Week 2, the Gladiators hosted the Baltimore Brigade at The Q on Easter Sunday and were defeated by a final score of 52-49. In his AFL debut, Cleveland QB Tanner Marsh completed 12 of 36 pass attempts for 228 yards, four touchdowns and one interception but was relieved in the fourth quarter by Jack LB-turned QB Arvell Nelson who added three completions on six attempts for 91 yards and two scores to his four tackles earlier in the contest. In his 2017 debut, Gladiators WR Quentin Sims hauled in 12 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns while WR Collin Taylor’s six receptions netted him 97 yards and a pair of scores. WR Larry Brackins and FB Phillipkeith Manley each caught one touchdown pass and Manley added a rushing touchdown in the Glads’ loss.
WHO TO WATCH: GLADIATORS
Taylor’s 188 receiving yards currently ranks second in the AFL and his four touchdown catches on 12 total receptions currently rank tied for the league-lead. Additionally, WR Brandon Thompkins, who did not play in Week 2 due to injury, currently ranks second in the AFL in kick-return yards with 145 to his credit on seven returns so far this season. Nelson will also be a critical presence for Cleveland in Week 3 as the Northeast Ohio native is expected to start at quarterback for the Gladiators for the first time since in the 2016 season.
WHO TO WATCH: STORM
Tampa Bay QB Randy Hippeard currently ranks third in the AFL in QB rating (115.7) and leads the league in passing yards (497), touchdown throws (12) and rushing yards (59). Meanwhile, the Storm’s top two receivers, WR LaMark Brown and WR Kendrick Ings currently rank in the AFL’s top-ten in receiving yards and touchdown receptions. Additionally, Ings leads the AFL in kick returns (12), return yards (258), kick return touchdowns (T1st).