Nelson’s five scores and a smothering defensive performance lead Cleveland to victory.
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.
NOTES: Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson supplied 230 yards and four touchdowns through the air on 18 of 27 passing, and added 10 rushing yards and one rushing score on five carries…Gladiators WR Michael Preston led Cleveland with seven receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns…Cleveland WR’s Collin Taylor and Lonnie Outlaw each reeled in one touchdown grab with Taylor logging 37 receiving yards on three catches and Outlaw posting 23 yards on three receptions…Gladiators FB Jeramie Richardson supplied 11 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown on seven carries…Glads DB Brandon Stephens supplied one interception in victory while DL Nick Seither forced and recovered a fumble and posted one sack, as did DL Darryl Cato-Bishop.
Offensive Player of the Game: Cleveland WR Michael Preston – seven receptions, 109 receiving yards, two touchdown catches.
Defensive Player of the Game: Cleveland DB Brandon Stephens – 6.5 tackles, one interception, four passes defended.
MVP of the Game: Cleveland QB Arvell Nelson – 18/27 passing, 230 passing yards, four touchdown throws, one rushing touchdown.
Tickets for every Gladiators home game start at just $10 and are on sale now! Full and partial season ticket memberships are also available and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits and the lowest ticket prices. All tickets can be purchased by visiting ClevelandGladiators.com, calling (216) 420-0000, visiting The Q Box Office or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart. Be sure to follow the Gladiators on Twitter @clegladiators, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandgladiators.
The Cleveland Gladiators are part of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization and also owned by a group led by Cavaliers Majority Owner and Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert. The group also owns and operates the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League playing at Quicken Loans Arena and the Canton Charge of the NBA G League playing in nearby Canton, Ohio at the Canton Civic Center.