The Cleveland Gladiators entered their week five matchup vs. the Tampa Bay Storm looking to set a franchise record for longest winning streak. Unfortunately for the Gladiators, the Storm would have none of that. Tampa Bay defeated Cleveland, 69-48.
Tampa Bay easily took care of the (3-2) Gladiators in the Friday night matchup. The Storm jumped out to a 21-7 lead and never looked back. Cleveland never led in this one, as their three game losing streak was snapped.
Quarterback John Dutton had a season high 363 passing yards to lead the Gladiators offense. He threw six touchdown passes but also had three interceptions. All three INT’s were costly for the Gladiators as they all resulted in Storm touchdowns.
The receivers were lead by Robert Redd. Redd had a game high 140 yards on 12 receptions and three touchdowns. His 140 yards marks a season best for Redd. Dominick Goodman had 14 grabs for 128 and a score. Goodman snapped a three game streak of having at least two touchdowns.
Cleveland’s defense was torched by the Storm offense for a season high 69 points. Coming into the game, the Glad’s defense was second in the AFL allowing just 47 points per game. Defensive back Levy Brown was the leader for Cleveland. Brown had four tackles and two interceptions. Drew Berube recorded the only Cleveland sack.
The Gladiators fell into a tough hole early and never recovered. Cleveland had their worst first quarter of the season, giving up 21 points and trailing 21-7. The 21 points and 14 point deficit were both season highs. Playing catch up football has not been a common theme for the Gladiators this season. Through four games in 2012, Cleveland had stuck with every team they have played.
Cleveland returns to the Q on Saturday April 21st when they take on the defending AFL champions, (1-3) Jacksonville Sharks. Kickoff at 7:30.
· Linebacker Tim Cheatwood had a one yard receiving touchdown. It is his first career offensive TD in the AFL.
· This was the only the third meeting between the two teams. They split their matchups between the 2008 and 2011 seasons.
· Tampa Bay improves to a perfect 3-0 at home.
· Prior to the game, Cleveland tied a franchise best with a three game winning streak. It happened twice in 2008 and once in both 2010 and 2011.
Matt Fontana covers the Cleveland Gladiators for ESPN Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter @MattFontana83
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