Week 15 Game Notes - Command Vs. Blaze
Cleveland Gladiators (7-5)
Vs. Kansas City Command (4-9)
Date: Sunday, June 19, 2011
Kickoff: 1:00pm (Central Time)
Site: Sprint Center
Officials: Larry Smith (Referee),
Robert Colosimo (Umpire), Steve Clouse (Head Linesman),
Grantis Bell (Line Judge), Jimmy Russell (Back Judge)
Radio: 810 WHB, Announcers Nick McCabe and Stan Weber
All-Time Series Record: First meeting.
Last Meeting: First meeting.
Steve Thonn (14-14, 2nd with Cleveland; 40-64, 6th overall) Danton Barto (4-9, 1st with KC; 6-24 2nd overall)
The Command have lost two straight games after falling to Milwaukee 54-34 last week. The Kansas City offense, very potent at times in the first half of the season, has been in an extended funk the last month. As a result, the team chose to make a change at starting quarterback, giving the nod to Stephen Wasil. The Gladiators, meanwhile, are in the thick of a division title race, tied with Pittsburgh atop the American Conference East after a win over Georgia last week.
The Command and Gladiators have never met. The Kansas City Brigade played the Las Vegas Gladiators once in 2007. The Brigade won that matchup 65-31. Danton Barto was the coach of that Gladiators squad.
Last Time Out
The Command suffered their second straight lopsided loss, falling in Milwaukee to the Mustangs 54-34. Offensive struggles were again the issue, particularly in the second half when the Command turned the ball over on downs three out of their first four drives. The loss dropped the Command to a record of 4-9.
"Our offense failed us," Command coach Danton Barto said after the game. "I thought the defense played well enough to win."
After a back and forth first half, both teams missed golden opportunities to go into halftime with a lead. The Command had the ball with the score tied and under a minute to play in the second quarter but turned it over with an interception. Milwaukee was then held out of the end zone as time expired and the score remained 21-21 at the end of two quarters.
Kansas City had the ball to start the third quarter but failed to get a first down on each of their first two drives, turning it over to Milwaukee inside their own 5-yard-line both times. The Mustangs used the Command's offensive futility to build a 31-21 lead and never trailed again.
Like the week before against Chicago, the Command were within seven points at the start of the fourth quarter only to have their opponent blow open the game in the final period. Milwaukee clinched the win by forcing another Command turnover on downs and taking back an interception for a touchdown on the game's final play.
"You've gotta go back to work," he said. "But we've gotta get better on the offensive side of the ball. We've gotta get some new players in here...to give our offense a spark."
The Command go back on the road to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Blaze. The game is scheduled for a 7pm kick central time and will be televised nationally on NFL Network. Utah is currently mired in a three-game skid and gave up a season-worst in the AFL 81 points in a loss to Tulsa Saturday night.
Again, the COMMAND have been fortunate in not adding anyone to the Injured Reserve list. Lightning-quick Wide Receiver Christian Wise is expected to come off IR and resume his duties as the designated Kick Returner for the team.
Wasil Named Starter
Kansas City Command Head Coach Danton Barto announced this week that Stephen Wasil will be starting quarterback for the team's game against the Cleveland Gladiators on Sunday.
"Our offense has been struggling", said Coach Barto. "We feel that a change in quarterback right now should help the offense be more productive and give a lift to the whole team."
So far this season Wasil has only seen action at quarterback in one game; the last few plays of the Command's loss to the Chicago Rush. In 2010, Wasil cut his teeth with the af2's Alabama Vipers where he earned a QB rating of 63.81 with two touchdown passes and one rushing TD off a quarterback keeper.
His record at Albion College was stellar; Wasil holds or has previously held all-time records for Most Passing Yards in a Game (412), Most Passing Yards in a Season (3313), and Most Touchdowns in a Season (33). In 2005, he led the Britons to a MIAA championship and was named the league Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Wasil also served on the Albion coaching staff in 2006, and is a graduate of Detroit Central Catholic High School.
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