Game Preview: Iowa Barnstormers vs. Cleveland Gladiators
DES MOINES – The Iowa Barnstormers (4-4) host the Cleveland Gladiators (7-0) on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Kickoff is set for 7:05pm CDT at Wells Fargo Arena. The game will be available live on Mediacom Connections Channel 22, WHO 1040 AM, and online via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN application .
In last week’s matchup the Iowa Barnstormers fell to the Jacksonville Sharks 68-48. In the first, the Barnstormers struggled to bring the heat. Taking advantage of extra opportunities, the Sharks were quick to pull ahead. However, Iowa was able to level the playing field in the second quarter and finished the half trailing by only one score. The Barnstormers finally got into their normal groove in the third, starting the half with a rushing touchdown by FB Derik Steiner. A back-and-forth rhythm continued throughout the quarter, which ended with a Jacksonville touchdown. A downhill spiral for the Barnstormers, the fourth quarter started with a 48-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Shark defensive back Terrance Smith. On the next drive, Iowa QB Brian Reader’s pass was grabbed by the opposing team, giving the ball back to Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Sharks were able to seal the game with a 68-48 victory over the Iowa Barnstormers.
The Cleveland Gladiators led a majority of their matchup versus the Los Angeles KISS, but struggled until the final moments of the game to secure the victory. In the fourth, LA was able to knot the score at 42-42. Although the Gladiators did not score a touchdown in the entire fourth quarter, the East Division leaders managed to score the decisive points in the final moments of the shootout when Aaron Pettrey put extra points on the board with a successful field goal attempt.
The Iowa Barnstormers and the Cleveland Gladiators met just over a month ago at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. During the Week #4 matchup, Iowa’s defense led the game by limiting scoring with an interception by Tramain Thomas and a forced fumble by Mike Lewis combined with a Frank Trotter recovery. Upon replacing QB Chris Dieker with the then newly acquired Shane Austin, Cleveland’s offense took off. At the half the Barnstormers trailed by a narrow margin of 26-27, but were unable to overcome the Gladiators momentum. The Barnstormers were defeated 54-47.
This weekend will be the second out of three meetings between Iowa and Cleveland this season alone. The next matchup will occur in three short weeks on June 7, 2014. In terms of all-time matchups, the Gladiators have pulled ahead defeating the Barnstormers in three out of five games. Iowa and Cleveland are both American Conference East Division teams, while Cleveland dominates the division with their undefeated record.
To break Cleveland’s seven week winning streak, the Barnstormers will have to keep tabs on a few potentially threatening players. DB Marrio Norman will likely pressure the Barnstormers offense, looking to keep his spot as the League’s leader of interceptions. Taking care of the ball on both sides of the line and heightened quarterback protection will continue to be high priority for Iowa, especially considering the skilled Gladiators defense.
Saturday, May 17 is $2 Beer Night at Wells Fargo Arena. Come on out as the Iowa Barnstormers host the undefeated Cleveland Gladiators! Individual game tickets for this event and any other regular season game may be purchased at the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office or by calling the Barnstormers at 515-633-2255. For all of the latest Barnstormers information log onto www.theiowabarnstormers.com.
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