The Cleveland Gladiators hosted the Baltimore Brigade at the Q Arena in Cleveland, OH Friday night. It was a must-win for Cleveland to catch up to Baltimore for the third seed in the Arena Football League playoffs.
Cleveland got on board first with a deep touchdown pass from Arvell Nelson to Quentin Sims after just two plays. A Shane Carden sack-fumble was recovered by the Gladiators in the end zone for a touchdown to give Cleveland a 14-0 lead.
Following a touchdown pass from Carden to Pablo Gonzalez, Nelson found Sims for his second touchdown to give Cleveland a 20-7 lead. A deep touchdown to Brandon Thompkins for Baltimore made it a 20-14 game at the end of the first quarter.
The two teams went back and forth to start the second quarter. Nelson found Tom Gilson for a touchdown. Baltimore responded with a touchdown from Carden to Julian Talley. Both teams continued to go back and forth, and the Gladiators took a 40-28 lead into halftime.
Cleveland took over midway through the third quarter. Leading 46-35, Kenny Veal picked off a Carden pass at the goal line. The Gladiators would capitalize with Sims’ third touchdown of the night. Following a second consecutive interception, this time by Lonnie Outlaw, another touchdown made the score 59-35. By the end of the third quarter, the score was 59-42.
Baltimore would attempt a comeback in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Gladiators went on to win by a final score of . Cleveland’s defense was key to their victory in this one as they picked off Carden a total of four times in the second half alone.
With the win, the Gladiators also close in on half a game behind the Brigade for the third seed in the Arena Football League playoff picture. They will host the Philadelphia Soul next weekend while the Brigade will host the Washington Valor for the first time ever.