In a matchup of past and present Gladiators quarterbacks, the current quarterback in Cleveland won out as the Gladiators earned a 55-48 overtime victory over Portland at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night.
Cleveland native Arvell Nelson is the Gladiators 3rd starting quarterback this season after injuries to Chris Dieker and Dennis Havrilla earlier in the year. In his 3rd start for the Glads, Nelson sparked the team with 7 total touchdowns including 5 through the air.
With the good came some unfortunate as turnovers continued to plague Nelson. After a virtually mistake free first half, he threw 2 interceptions and fumbled in the second half which gave Portland their chance to get back in the game.
“He’s upset more than anybody in the locker room right now,” said Gladiators Head Coach Steve Thonn after the victory, “He played a great game up until then.”
When it mattered most, Nelson came through with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Colin Taylor in overtime to give the Gladiators the lead.
Austin was the Gladiators starting QB in 2014 & 2015 and had an uneven debut with Portland. He threw 6 touchdowns on 363 yards passing but also tossed 5 interceptions. Austin was assigned to Portland last November but had spent the last 2 months trying out for Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football league.
The Gladiators defense was strong with defensive back Demarcus Robinson nabbing 2 of Austin’s 5 interceptions. They also came up with key stops throughout the game including the game ending interception by Glads DB Marvin Ross, his second INT of the evening as well.
The win is the Gladiators 3rd of the season and puts them one game away from .500. Next up for the Gladiators, a Monday night matchup with the Storm in Tampa on the 23rd.