Game Preview: Iowa Barnstormers at Cleveland Gladiators
DES MOINES – The Iowa Barnstormers (6-5) travel to take on the Cleveland Gladiators (9-1) on Saturday, June 7. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CDT at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The game will be available live on national television via CBS Sports Network and may also be followed on WHO 1040 AM.
Last week, the Iowa Barnstormers brought victory to Wells Fargo Arena. Iowa started off the night strong, scoring twenty-seven points before the end of the first half. A monstrous twenty-point second quarter brought the Barnstormers even further ahead as they closed halftime with a 13-point lead. Steady play during the second half kept the Predators from sneaking up too closely. Even after replacing their starting quarterback, Orlando couldn’t make the comeback. Iowa Barnstormers 58, Orlando Predators 48.
A big game for several players, the Barnstormers look to continue to improve. Last week, quarterback Brian Reader had his best game of 2014 with seven touchdowns and 221 passing yards. Coming out of play with AFL Week 12 honors are defensive end Mike Lewis, who has moved in to fifth on the AFL’s sack leader list and receiver Darius Reynolds who has been nominated Most Valuable Player for Week 12 after his standout performance on Saturday night.
The Cleveland Gladiators fall to a 9-1 record after their first loss of the season to the Pittsburgh Power, 48-34. In Pittsburgh’s fifth straight win, the team took advantage of six forced turnovers and led 21-7 at the conclusion of the first half. For a majority of the game, the teams traded touchdowns up until a rushing touchdown by Pittsburgh to seal the fate of the game.
This Saturday will be the third and final time Iowa and Cleveland meet in the 2014 regular season. The last time these two teams met, Cleveland came away with a road victory, 63-46. The Barnstormers offense went on a hot streak for the first half with Reynolds scoring the first fourteen points of the game. Ter’Ran Benton’s interception from Cleveland quarterback Shane Austin contributed to Iowa’s 20-7 lead in the first. After another interception, this time by Lewis, Cleveland slowly began to pull back into the game. After a pair of consecutive touchdowns by Gladiators Thyron Lewis, Iowa’s J.J. Raterink replaced Reader. Raterink made connections for two touchdowns, but was not able to overcome the deficit. Gladiators 63, Barnstormers 46.
To take the victory from Cleveland this weekend, the Barnstormers will need to be on the top of their game with quarterback Shane Austin and defensive back LaRoche Jackson on the other side of the ball. Iowa will need to take care of the ball on both sides of the line as well as take advantage of any Gladiator turnovers. Continuing improvement on special teams will only help the Barnstormers offense to pull ahead.
Can’t make the trip to Cleveland this weekend, but don’t want to miss the game? Head over to OverTime – Neighborhood Hub for Sports and Grub on NW 86th Street in Urbandale for the Iowa Barnstormers Official Watch Party on Saturday, June 7. Join our front office staff along with other Barnstormers fans for food and drink specials and door prizes! For more information about this event, call the Barnstormers at 515-633-2255 or log onto www.theiowabarnstormers.com.
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