Gladiators Swamped by Storm, 57-27

Courtesy: Cleveland Gladiators Media

QB Arvell Nelson trying to escape the rush of the Storm’s defense.

TAMPA – The Arena Football League’s Cleveland Gladiators, proudly presented by Unique Home Solutions, were defeated by the Tampa Bay Storm on Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL, in Week 16 of the 2017 AFL season by a final score of 57-27. With the loss, the Glads fell to 4-9 overall this season and currently remain alone in fourth place in the AFL standings heading into the team’s final regular season game.

A 36-yard touchdown pass from Tampa Bay QB Randy Hippeard to WR Joe Hills made it 7-0 Storm in the first quarter before Tampa Bay JLB/DB and former Gladiator Alvin Ray Jackson returned an interception 19 yards to the end zone to make it 14-0 for the home team. Cleveland struck back with a ten-yard scoring strike from QB Arvell Nelson to WR Michael Preston to make it 14-6, but the Storm responded with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Hippeard to WR Kendrick Ings to push the Tampa Bay edge to 21-6.

In the second quarter, Cleveland’s defense provided the Gladiators’ most electrifying play of the game, a 36-yard interception return for a score that made it 21-13 Storm on a play that featured a pick from JLB Terence Moore and a lateral to DB Marrio Norman who ran the play all the way back. Tampa Bay re-established their advantage shortly thereafter, however, when Hippeard rushed for a one-yard score on the final play of the first half.

The third quarter saw the Storm post back-to-back scores on Hippeard touchdown passes to Ings from 27 yards out and WR LaMark Brown from two yards out, to claim a 41-13 lead before a one-yard Nelson touchdown run pushed the Gladiators back into the game at 41-20. The Storm made it 48-20 though, when Hills and Hippeard connected from 16 yards out to cap the scoring in quarter three.

A 39-yard field goal from Tampa Bay K Mark Lewis started the fourth-quarter scoring and pushed the Storm lead to 51-20 and led to a four-yard net recovery score on the ensuing kickoff for Tampa Bay’s Michael Lindsey. Cleveland tallied the game’s final points on a 25-yard fumble returned for a touchdown by DL Nick Seither that established the game’s final score at 57-27.

Next up for the Gladiators, it’s a Week 17 road tilt vs. the Washington Valor on Saturday, July 29th will full coverage, live from Verizon Center in Washington, DC, underway at 7:00 pm on 92.3 The Fan, The Word 1440 WHKZ-AM and CBS Sports Network.

NOTES: Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson finished with 142 yards through the air on 11/19 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions, adding one touchdown run on the ground… Glads WR Michel Preston posted a team-high nine catches for 98 yards and one score… DB/KR Kenny Veal tallied 137 kick return yards on six returns…
Defensively, DB Marrio Norman and DL Nick Seither provided one interception return for a touchdown and one fumble recovery for a score, while JLB Terence Moore tallied one interception in defeat.

POST GAME AWARD WINNERS:
Offensive Player of the Game: Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills – 10 receptions, 121 receiving yards, two touchdown catches
Defensive Player of the Game: ampa Bay JLB/DB Alvin Ray Jackson – four tackles (three solo), two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, one interception return for a touchdown
MVP of the Game: Tampa Bay QB Randy Hippeard – 22/36 passing, 234 passing yards, six total touchdowns (five passing), one interception.

ABOUT THE CLEVELAND GLADIATORS
The Cleveland Gladiators are entering their 9th season in Cleveland as a member of the Arena Football League. In the 2014 season, the Gladiators hosted the ArenaBowl at Quicken Loans Arena, and have been in the post season on four other accounts. For tickets, contact the Gladiators sales department at (216) 420-2222, or by visiting the team’s web site clevelandgladiators.com. Follow the Soul on Facebook at facebook.com/ClevelandGladiators, on Twitter at twitter.com/clegladiators, on Instagram at instagram.com/clevelandgladiators, on YouTube at youtube.com/CLEGladiators, on Soundcloud at soundcloud.com/cleveland-gladiators, and on Snapchat at Snapchat.com/add/clegladS.