Gladiators Hold on to Stop Storm, 41-39
CLEVELAND - The Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators, proudly presented by Unique Home Solutions, defeated the Tampa Bay Storm at The Q on Saturday in Week 14 of the 2017 AFL season by a final score of 41-39. With the win, the Gladiators improved to 4-8 this season and remain alone in fourth place in the AFL standings, currently in position for the league's final playoff spot.
Storm QB Randy Hippeard connected with WR Kendrick Ings for a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to open the scoring and make it 6-0 Tampa Bay, but Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson responded shortly thereafter, finding WR Lonnie Outlaw in the end zone from 15 yards out to claim a 7-6 lead for the home team.
In the second quarter, Hippeard found Storm WR Joe Hills from three yards out to make it 13-7, but Cleveland FB Jeramie Richardson answered that score with a three-yard rushing touchdown to claim the lead for the Gladiators at 14-13. Later in the quarter, Nelson struck for a six-yard rushing touchdown to make it 21-13 Cleveland at the half.
In the third, a 29-yard hookup from Nelson to Glads WR Collin Taylor pushed the Cleveland lead to 27-13 before a 16-yard Nelson touchdown toss to WR Michael Preston extended the Gladiators' lead to its largest margin at 34-13. Tampa Bay TE Leonardo Bates rattled off a 23-yard catch-and-run, however, to draw the Storm within a pair of scores at 34-20 heading into the final quarter of play.
Preston and the Gladiators started quickly in the fourth quarter, as Nelson found the Cleveland wideout in the end zone from 37 yards out to make it 41-20, but Tampa Bay responded with three unanswered scores the rest of the way, from Hills, WR Justin Hilton and Hills again, but ended up a two-point conversion short of completing their comeback and fell to the Glads by a final score of 41-39.
Next up for the Gladiators, it's a Week 15 bye, followed by a Week 16 road tilt vs. Tampa Bay on Saturday, July 22nd will full coverage, live from Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, FL, underway at 7:00 pm on 92.3 The Fan, The Word 1440 WHKZ-AM and CBS Sports Network.
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