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Looking to maintain their first place lead in the tight West Division, the Avengers suddenly collapsed and fell to the visiting Cleveland Gladiators 83-69. The loss was a crucial blow to Los Angeles’s division title hopes as they fell one game behind the San Jose SaberCats (4-4).
“We turned the ball over too many times.” said head coach Ed Hodgkiss. “I know it sounds like a broken record. But we can‘t continue to make mistakes like that.”
The Avengers trailed for most of the game, as the Gladiators were able to build three 14-point leads. However, no lead was as important as the one with 1:54 remaining when Cleveland wideout Otis Amey caught his fifth touchdown to give the Gladiators a 76-62 lead.
“It’s hard to comeback from 14 points down twice,” said Hodgkiss. “You have to fight your way back in and keep the momentum for more than two series.”
Despite the loss, Avengers quarterback Tim Hicks continued to improve, ending the evening 31-of-45 for 378 yards and eight touchdowns.
Hicks was not the lone offensive star as wide receiver Timon Marshall shattered L.A‘s all-time single game record for all-purpose yards with 284. He also caught nine receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Next week, the Avengers will travel to HP Pavillion in San Jose to visit the defending Arena Bowl Champion San Jose SaberCats.