Cleveland Gladiators Press Release
Cleveland – In front of 12,243 fans at Quicken Loans Arena, the Gladiators fell in the first of two meetings with the Los Angeles KISS by a score of 47-42, dropping Cleveland’s record to 1-2. KISS quarterback Nathan Stanley threw for 191 yards and four touchdowns while wide receiver D.J. Stephens caught 12 passes for 109 and two touchdowns. Gladiators wide receiver Collin Taylor racked up 13 receptions for 101 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat.
The KISS got the scoring started when defensive back Rayshaun Kizer picked off a Dennis Havrilla pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown putting Los Angeles on top 7-0 early in the first quarter. After Gladiators kicker Adrian Trevino missed a 31-yard field goal attempt on the next drive, the KISS offense sputtered themselves, turning the ball over on downs and setting up the Gladiators offense on the KISS nine-yard line. Havrilla capitalized on the very next play to start the second quarter, finding Taylor in the back of the end zone for his first of three scores to even things up at 7.
The Los Angeles offense would respond, as Stanley would find wide receiver Donovan Morgan for a 14-yard hook up. Kicker Kevin Goessling’s missed extra point made the score 13-7 in favor of the KISS. On the ensuing kickoff, Goessling booted the ball off the crossbar leading to a fortuitous bounce and a Los Angeles recovery. Morgan would score again on a sweep from one-yard out to extend the KISS lead to 20-7 with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cleveland offense answered, marching 45 yards on six plays, capped by Havrilla finding Taylor for his second touchdown of the night and trimming the deficit to 20-14. After a failed onside kick by the Gladiators, Stanley would be intercepted in the end zone by defensive back Brandon Stephens and returned 49 yards to the KISS nine-yard line. The Gladiators would score on the next play, as Havrilla found offensive lineman D.J. Brandel on a screen for the score. Trevino’s extra point gave the Gladiators the lead for the first time on the night, 21-20.
Once again, the KISS responded quickly as Stanley found Morgan for a 27-yard gain before fullback Rory Nixon scored from six yards out to reclaim the lead for Los Angeles, 26-21, heading into halftime.
Los Angeles opened up the scoring in the second half when Stanley found Stephens for a six-yard strike, extending their lead to 33-21. On the next drive, however, Taylor would find pay dirt for the third time on the night when Havrilla hit him for a quick four-yard score to pull within 33-28. After the KISS turned the ball over on downs for the second time of the night, Havrilla plunged into the end zone from one yard out to give the Gladiators the lead. A Havrilla to wide receiver Dominick Goodmantwo-point conversion made the score 36-33 in favor of the Gladiators with 12:31 remaining in the game.
The KISS jumped back on top on their next drive as Stanley capped off an eight-play 44 yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Brandon Collins, making the score 40-36 with 6:16 remaining in the contest. On the ensuing possession for the Gladiators, Havrilla was picked off by defensive back Fred Obi leading to a 19-yard throw and catch touchdown from Stanley to Stephens. Extending the lead to 47-36 with 3:06 to play in the game.
The Cleveland offense would cap off the scoring for the night on the next drive with a four-play, 40 yard drive capped off by a Havrilla to Goodman six-yard touchdown making the final score 47-42.
Up next for the Gladiators is a road trip to Philadelphia and a match-up with the Soul next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The game will air live on CBS Sports Network and can be heard on 92.3 The Fan.