Gladiators Fall To Soul In Regular Season Finale
Shane Austin tossed his 101st touchdown pass of the season Saturday night to break John Dutton’s five-year old single-season franchise record of 100, but the Cleveland Gladiators (8-10) closed out the regular season with a 48-33 loss to the Philadelphia Soul (15-3) before a Quicken Loans Arena crowd of 12,474. The two teams will meet in the opening round of the Arena Football League playoffs next Saturday at 5:00 p.m., and fans are encouraged to attend The Official Gladiators Playoff Watch Party at Dave & Buster’s of Westlake. Next week’s game also airs live on 92.3 The Fan.
Full Game Info:
A Gladiators turnover on downs to open the game led to Philadelphia posting the game’s first points, as Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh found Shaun Kauleinamoku for a 46-yard touchdown pass 5:20 into the opening frame. On the ensuing kickoff return, Amarri Jackson ran the ball 55 yards before he was stripped at the one-yard line. Philadelphia took over possession, but the Gladiators defense stood tall, forcing a turnover on downs and keeping the Philadelphia lead at just seven points.
Austin found Collin Taylor for his first touchdown pass of the game with 5:46 left in the opening quarter to help the Gladiators tie the game at 7-7. Austin sent a quick pass to the right for Taylor, who carried defenders with him en route to his 42nd touchdown catch of the season. Taylor finished the game with a pair of scores and led the Gladiators with eight receptions and 74 yards. After Cleveland tied the game at 7-7, Philadelphia managed to regain the lead, 14-7, on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Raudabaugh to fullback Tommy Taggart with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
The back-and-forth scoring continued into the second quarter when Austin barreled into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run- the first of his two rushing touchdowns in the game- with 12:12 left in the second quarter. A missed extra point attempt led to Philadelphia scoring back-to-back touchdowns, including a one-yard rushing touchdown from Taggart in the half’s final seconds, and the Soul led 28-13 at halftime.
The Gladiators outscored Philadelphia 13-7 in the third quarter; the lone quarter in which the Gladiators outscored the Soul. History was made with 1:08 left in the third quarter and the Gladiators trailing 35-20. Austin looked to his right and spotted an open Thyron Lewis, and Austin found Lewis for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The pass was Austin’s 101st of the season, setting a new single-season franchise record, and the total is a new career-high for Austin. Austin finished the game completing 16 of 33 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Philadelphia outscored the Gladiators 13-7 in the fourth quarter to secure the win, topping Cleveland 48-33. The Gladiators finished the season series against the Soul with an 0-3 record.
The Gladiators and Soul meet at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia next Saturday in the quarterfinals of the AFL playoffs. The game kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and can be heard on 92.3 The Fan. The Official Gladiators Playoff Watch Party will be held at Dave & Buster’s in Westlake.
NOTES: The 33 points was the fewest the Gladiators have scored in a game against Philadelphia this season; the Gladiators scored 56 in their last game against the Soul, a 72-56 loss in Philadelphia on July 11th… Amarri Jackson had 101 kickoff return yards in the loss… Brian Brikowski had three tackles and a fumble recovery for the Gladiators… Dominic Jones led the Gladiators with nine tackles… Mike Alston and Randy Colling registered quarterback sacks for the Gladiators… Follow the Gladiators on Twitter @CLEGladiators, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandgladiators, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/clevelandgladiators.