According to ArenaFootball.com, the Cleveland Gladiators set a league record by going 17-1 in the regular season. They followed that up with a 39-37 home victory over the Philadelphia Soul in the opening round of the playoffs.
In Sunday's victory over Orlando, the Gladiators got out to a 35-28 lead in the first half and then increased it to 42-28 at the end of the third quarter. At the end of a high-scoring fourth quarter, Cleveland emerged with a 56-46 victory. Quarterback Shane Austin racked up seven touchdown passes in the contest.
Up next? The Gladiators will face the two-time defending champion Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXVII. The Rattlers defeated the San Jose Sabercats 72-56 in the National Conference Championship Sunday evening. Arizona has appeared in the last three ArenaBowl Championships (and eight overall, winning four) while the Cleveland Gladiators will make their first ever appearance in the title game at home on Saturday, August 23rd at 8 pm.