Once he scored, the Gladiators never relented.
DISTANCE: 10 yards
PLAYER: Josh Rue
DATE: July 7, 2008 vs. Georgia Force
FINAL SCORE: Gladiators 73, Force 70
He was a true fullback with the right mentality — play unselfishly and help your teammates, but when they call your number, make the most of it.
Josh Rue was used to getting only a handful of carries. In his time at Duquesne, he played on both sides of ball at fullback and defensive end, limiting his total number of rushing attempts to under 250 for his career. However, whenever he got the ball, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound runner made an impact. He rushed for 25 touchdowns in three years with the Dukes, earning MAAC Co-Offensive rookie of the year as a freshman and making the All-MAAC team his sophomore and junior seasons.
After playing for the Las Vegas Gladiators as an AFL rookie in 2007, Rue traveled with the franchise when they moved to Cleveland, looking to find a way onto the field and make an impression. He had to wait his turn due to an injury, but when First Team All-Arena fullback Marlion Jackson went down to an injury in the 2008 National Conference Semifinals against the Georgia Force, it was Rue's time.
Late in the first quarter, after a long Gladiators drive, Rue tied the game, 7-7, with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone. The Force controlled the rest of the first half, but Cleveland hung tough as Georgia led 42-40 at halftime.
On the Gladiators first drive of the second half, quarterback Ray Philyaw led another efficient drive, moving the ball down to the 10-yard line. With the Force expecting another pass, Philyaw instead handed off to Rue, who drove his tree trunk legs through the middle of the defense and stretched to the goal line to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Rue finished the game with two touchdowns on five carries, and the Glads never surrendered their lead. In their first season in Cleveland, the Gladiators were one game away from reaching the ArenaBowl.