Gladiators Prepare for Week 12 Battle at Portland
MATCHUP – The Cleveland Gladiators (5-6) continue their extended road trip at the Moda Center in Portland when they take on the Portland Steel (1-9) in Week 12 on Saturday, June 18th at 10 pm EST. Saturday’s game is the final meeting of the regular season between Cleveland and Portland this season after the Gladiators won a 55-48 overtime thriller in the first outing at Quicken Loans Arena.
LAST TIME OUT – Last Saturday, the Gladiators overcame a slow start to push the Orlando Predators down to the wire before falling 59-56 on a late field goal. QB Arvell Nelson led Cleveland with 296 passing yards and eight touchdowns. WR Quentin Sims had a monster game with eight catches, 102 yards and four touchdowns, and WR Larry Beavers exploded for eight catches, 111 yards and two touchdowns. WR Collin Taylor extended his franchise-record stretch of 27 consecutive games with a touchdown catch by hauling in four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown.
GLADIATORS PLAYERS TO WATCH – Nelson has moved into fourth place in the AFL with a QBR of 108.8 and accounted for his 50th touchdown of the season last week. He also ranks fourth in the league in rushing with 120 yards and seven touchdowns. Taylor’s 74 catches and 943 yards currently rank seventh in the league in both categories, while his 23 touchdown catches rank sixth. Sims has grown into a true weapon, catching 18 touchdowns in only eight games. On the defensive side of the ball, Marvin Ross continues to lead the defense in his rookie season, ranking first on the team in tackles (60.5), pass breakups (18), interceptions (4) and forced fumbles (2).
STEEL PLAYERS TO WATCH – Quarterback Shane Austin has put Portland on his back since taking over under center in Week 7. He leads the team with 1,309 passing yards and 26 touchdowns and 73 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The Steel have had three big receiving targets step up this season in Tom Gilson (98 receptions, 993 yards, 14 touchdowns), Tyrone Goard (51 receptions, 454 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Jared Perry (46 receptions, 597 yards, nine touchdowns). Defensive back Sergio Gilliam currently leads Portland with 30.5 tackles and three interceptions.