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Power

Pittsburgh Power vs. Cleveland Gladiators LIVE Blog

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By Matt Popchock

7:00 PM – We’re coming at you from press row inside CONSOL Energy Center…and the vuvuzelas are back! Pittsburgh fans are bringing out all the stops for tonight’s battle between the 6-4 Power and the 6-4 Cleveland Gladiators, which will determine sole possession of the East Division lead in the AFL’s American Conference.

By the way, if you don’t know what a “vuvuzela” is, it’s those annoying air horns fans blasted throughout last year’s FIFA World Cup…and The Sparks (the Pittsburgh Power’s dance team) are passing them out to every Power fan in sight.

When I think of vuvuzelas, I immediately think of one time when our own Paul Alexander of The Fan Morning Show accidentally mispronounced the word in a way I’d rather not repeat (because this is a family blog)…

7:05 PM – The rumors are true…Hines is in the house! Hines Ward, your “Dancing with the Stars” champion and Steelers receiver extraordinaire, was shown in one of the private boxes.

(By the way, did I mention the vuvuzelas are really annoying…? I’d love to see how Cleveland fans retaliate, if at all, July 15…)

7:20 PM – “Barbie Girl” by Aquae blares over the speakers as the Gladiators take the field, and the contingent from Cleveland, which came via a bus trip organized through the Gladiators’ official website, gives them a standing “O.”

7:23 PM – The Power take the field! Haha…defensive lineman Terrance Carter running out of the tunnel a second early (or were his teammates a second late?)…he’s definitely amped up for this one…

Carlos Campbell, the team’s top DB and leading tackler, was on the injured list per one source, and not in the starting lineup, per official game notes…but he was just introduced. Interesting…wonder what it means for fully-recovered DB Tyrell Herbert? Wide receiver/kick returner Jerome Mathis introduced in his first game since coming off IR.

Okay crowd tonight…probably a little more than the last couple home games…but having the Pirates in town on a Saturday night has a noticeable effect on attendance…

7:30 PM – Scott Blassey from The Clarks sings the National Anthem. He’ll be performing with Rob and Greg from said band at halftime of what the team has dubbed “Military Appreciation Night.” Not surprisingly, several team officials are veterans.

7:32 PM – Cleveland wins the toss, defers to the second half. Power will move right to left on your computer screen to begin the game. Time to get excited…

7:35 PM – Mathis right back in action, returns opening kick to his own 19. Jason Willis has the Power off and running with a first-down catch up the near sideline just past midfield…

7:38 PM – Tough break…Lonnell DeWalt had a first-down catch in his breadbasket, but was stripped immediately. Tim Cheatwood eventually recovers at Cleveland’s own 16 yard line.

7:40 PM – Gary Butler delivers a HUGE hit that causes a fumble, which Royce Adams recovers at the Power 10 yard line…but the refs rule the receiver’s knee was down. Lousy call. I’ve never seen Coach Siegfried that visibly angry…

7:42 PM – The Gladiators take advantage of the bad non-fumble call and Kurt Rocco throws a 3-yard dart to Robert Redd just inside the end zone. 34th TD toss of the year for Rocco, 17th TD catch of the year for Redd. Extra point by Matt Denny clangs off the left upright, as Siegfried continues to absolutely rip into these officials…6-0 Cleveland, 8:59 left, 1st quarter.

7:45 PM – A QB keeper by Morris on 3rd and short. First down Power to the Cleveland 18…

7:49 PM – TOUCHDOWN POWER! After an illegal formation penalty on the Cleveland defense, Joshua Rue runs off left tackle and scores standing up from 2 yards out…11th rush TD of the year, 13th TD overall. Good ball management by Bernard Morris and the Power offense. Paul Edinger’s extra point gives the Power a 7-6 edge, 3:53 left, 1st quarter. Rue now tied for 5th in AFL in rush TD’s.

Cleveland has one of the most successful red zone defenses in the league, so the more Pittsburgh can do that, the better…

7:55 PM – Rocco quiets the vuvuzelas–or tries to, anyway, with a deep toss to Thryon Lewis up the near sideline for a first down…LB Gary Butler tips away Rocco’s next attempt.

7:58 PM – Kurt Rocco throws an incompletion on 4th down deep in Power territory after getting flushed out of the pocket and running around for what seems like forever…but the Power get called for an illegal defense. First down Cleveland. Again, Siegfried looks baffled. Timeout Power, two remaining. 17 seconds left, 1st quarter.

8:00 PM – End of 1st quarter. Power 7, Cleveland Gladiators 6. Lonnell DeWalt and Butler deny fullback Russ Monk, stringing him out well short of the end zone on the quarter’s final play.

8:03 PM – Great pass deflection by DeWalt! He anticipated that play just right. Kurt Rocco denied on a sneak by Butler…fourth down…timeout Cleveland. They now have two remaining as well. 13:31 left, 2nd quarter.

8:07 PM – Terrance Carter blows the play up and sacks Rocco all the way back to the 15! And this crowd loves it! Power ball…and Josh Rue catches one and runs out of the backfield into open pasture for a 1st down at midfield.

8:09 PM – Disaster for the Power…Mike Washington drops a potential TD pass, wide open, when he smacks into the back wall, and Morris fumbles the snap on 3rd down…but Jason Willis makes a nice catch just before he collides into the side wall for a POWER TOUCHDOWN! Willis beats twin coverage for his 13th TD catch of the year! 28th TD pass of the year for Bernard Morris. Edinger’s kick is good. 14-6 Power, 9:50 left, 2nd quarter.

8:13 PM – Dominick Goodman, who just returned that kick for Cleveland, is one of a couple University of Cincinnati players on the Glads’ roster. (Sorry, had to throw it out there!) DL Anthony Hoke is the other.

8:17 PM – Rocco is flushed out of the pocket and barely has time to throw a TD pass right down the middle, but Robert Redd is flagged for offensive pass interference. The breaks even out, as Royce Adams is called for an obvious defensive holding penalty. 1st down Cleveland to the Power 9 yard line…

8:20 PM – Power doing a good job putting heat in Rocco’s kitchen, but he finds an open Thyron Lewis in the back of the end zone for his second TD pass of the night 4th receiving TD of the year for Lewis. But Denny, once again, shanks the extra point to the right…3:55 left, 2nd quarter, 14-12 Power.

8:25 PM – Jerome Mathis hauls in a 5-yard pass for his first reception since coming off IR.

8:26 PM – TOUCHDOWN POWER! Willis hauls in a 40-yard bomb through traffic on the far side of the field…great catch! 2nd of the night for Willis, 2nd TD pass of the night for Morris…give Willis 14 on the year and Morris 29 total. Edinger banks in the extra point…2:23 left, 2nd quarter, 21-12 Power.

8:28 PM – Onside kick recovered by Drew Berube of the Gladiators, who take over at the Pittsburgh 21. Didn’t see that one coming, but unfortunately Cleveland did.

8:30 PM – The vuvuzelas drown out the one-minute warning…2nd and goal for the Glads from the 6…

8:33 PM – I can’t read lips from up here, but I think Cleveland head coach Steve Thonn wanted fan interference on that 3rd down incompletion…then Neil Purvis sacks Rocco, and an Anthony DeGrate fumble return for a TD was ruled a dead ball incompletion. 4th and long, timeout Power. One left. 45 seconds left in the half.

8:35 PM – Gutsy play by Rocco…under pressure he finds Lewis for a second time tonight just beyond the reach of Josh Lay. Important conversion there for Cleveland. Denny finally makes an extra point, so it’s 21-19 Power with 38 seconds left. Jerome Mathis proceeds to take a few Gladiators for a ride to his own 20 on a nice kick return.

36 TD on the year now for Rocco, 5 TD catches on the year now for Lewis.

8:39 PM – Timeout Power, 3rd and short at the Cleveland 20 yard line, 20 seconds left in the half. No timeouts left for the Power. False start penalty (ouch!) moves it back to midfield.

8:42 PM – Morris barely avoids a coverage sack and makes forward progress…in a very confusing sequence, Cleveland does not call timeout, and the half ends with the Pittsburgh Power clinging to a 21-19 lead over the Cleveland Gladiators. The good news is, lest we forget, the Glads get the ball to begin the second half. In a game like this where the Power are generally handling their business, but the Glads are hanging around, that one possession could make a world of difference. We’ll see. It would be huge for Pittsburgh to get this to a two-score game.

What a difference a week makes…the rookie Kurt Rocco seems much more flustered by the Power defense than Dan Raudabaugh of Dallas was last week, and the Power have done a solid job getting in his grill. They’re blowing the Gladiators off the line of scrimmage. Give Rocco credit for making some big plays to keep Cleveland in it, though, as previously mentioned, the Glads have gotten a couple calls that could very easily have gone against them and made their predicament worse.

Offensively the Power have done a good job taking what Cleveland’s talented defense has given them. Morris has made big plays when he’s had to, though you’d like to see Mike Washington, who has been lighting the world on fire the past couple games, more involved. Meanwhile, Willis is taking advantage of the coverage against Washington.

Again, that first drive for the Power could be big. If they can extend their lead, recent history says the Power, especially its defense, will elevate its game in the second half and take charge of this one.

First half numbers:

Morris: 11-of-16 for 140 yards, 2 TD

Rocco: 13-of-19 for 135 yards, 3 TD, sacked twice

Goodman: 5 catches, 48 yds

Lewis: 3 catches, 44 yds, 2 TD

Willis: 4 catches, 89 yds, 2 TD

Washington: 4 catches, 30 yds

Adams: 5.0 tackles, 4 solo

Levy Brown: 3.5 tackles, 3 solo

9:00 PM – 1st down conversion on 3rd and short, the Gladiators’ first 3rd down conversion of the night after starting 0-for-3. Power having a tough time tackling Dominick Goodman, who made the play.

9:02 PM – Rocco finds a wide open Redd in the back of the end zone for his 4th TD pass of the night, 2nd of the night and 18th of the year for Redd, who took an unnecessary excessive celebration penalty, though not as egregious as the one we saw in Dallas. Serves him right Matt Denny missed another extra point. Penalty enforced on the kickoff, 11:26 left, 3rd quarter…25-21 Cleveland.

9:05 PM – Mathis takes the squib kick and rams it back down the Glads’ throats to their 22, and the penalty moves it up to the 12.

9:07 PM – Mathis sets up 1st and goal for the Power on the 1 yard line. Timeout Cleveland, they have two remainin. 10:24 left in 3rd.

9:09 PM – TOUCHDOWN POWER! Offensive lineman Mike Lucian, whom we just spoke with earlier today, plunges in from the goal line and scores his first TD as a member of the Power! Edinger converts the extra point. Anthony Hoke wasn’t happy about an illegal formation call against the Gladiators’ defense on the previous play, but anyway…9:34 left, 3rd quarter, Power ahead 28-25.

9:14 PM – Injury timeout…Power DL Terrance Carter is in the prone position and being worked on after being victimized by a (properly called) holding penalty. Limping slightly as he heads to the bench. Lucian in the game at nose tackle.

9:17 PM – Lewis is having his way a little too much, as he victimizes the Power secondary by making up the penalty yards with a first-down catch. Rocco then plunges in for his 8th rush TD of the year from 2 yards out. Denny’s extra point is good. 5:20 left, 3rd quarter, 32-28 Cleveland.

9:22 PM – A Mathis first down reception to the Power 22 and a defensive holding penalty put the Power on the plus side of the field…

9:24 PM – TOUCHDOWN POWER! Morris over the middle to Lonnell DeWalt from 18 yards out! DeWalt’s grab underneath the goal posts is his 11th TD reception of the year, 3rd TD pass of the night for Morris and 30th this season. A roughing the passer penalty will be assessed on the kickoff. Extra point by Edinger good…35-32 Power, 3:21 left, 3rd quarter.

9:27 PM – Josh Lay has made a couple of nice ankle tackles on Goodman tonight.

9:29 PM – First QB hurry of the half by the Power…and it almost leads to a pick by DeWalt. Fourth down Cleveland from its own 21…when we begin the 4th quarter. Another home game going down to the wire…35-32 Power. Still need a big defensive stop…

9:32 PM – Incomplete…good coverage on Goodman by LaRico Stevenson up the far sideline…turnover on downs! Power ball at their own 22. Could it be a turning point?

9:35 PM – Coverage sack on Morris–though he did get back to the line of scrimmage–by Hoke. Fourth down from the Cleveland 23. Willis can’t handle the pass in tight coverage underneath, and the Power turn it over on 4th down. Siegfried not a happy camper.

9:38 PM – Thunderous applause for Hines Ward, shown on the scoreboard and congratulated for “DWTS” title.

9:42 PM – 3rd and 10 Gladiators on the Pittsburgh 13…multiple penalty flags wipe out a Goodman touchdown reception (and some nifty moves around the Power secondary) to make it 3rd and 20, thanks to a holding call.

9:45 PM – Cleveland sets up for a field goal try, but the snap is bad, and the play blows up. A penalty for ineligible man downfield negates a forward pass by backup QB Dan Whalen, the holder…Power ball, 6:58 left in the game!

9:47 PM – Washington hauls one in right down the middle, 1st down to the Cleveland 15. A keeper by Morris nets another 1st down…wise decision by the QB. But the Power just can’t deliver the knockout blow tonight; Washington fumbles a pitch-out, and the Glads recover on their own 7 with 5:15 to go…

9:52 PM – As hard as the Power have fought against rookie QB Kurt Rocco, he sure doesn’t look like a rookie as he calmly marches Cleveland down the field…

9:54 PM – INTERCEPTION! Rocco overthrows Lewis, and Carlos Campbell, the ex-Cleveland DB–who, according to at least one source, wasn’t even supposed to play tonight–gives the Power the ball back! Touchback. One minute warning. 58 seconds left. 35-32 Power. Pittsburgh ball at its own 5 yard line.

9:57 PM – Wow! A 44-yard scramble by Morris! Timeout Cleveland. One remaining for the Glads. 35-32 Power. 1st and goal from the 2 yard line. 48 seconds left in the game. Can the Power put it away this time?

10:00 PM – Morris does not score, but he falls forward, and Cleveland has to burn its last timeout due to forward progress gained. 45 seconds left.

10:03 PM – Morris falls forward again…and Cleveland can’t stop the clock! GAME OVER! Can you say, “first-place Power?” Pittsburgh 35, Cleveland 32! Power are 7-4, Glads fall to 6-5.

Offensive POTG – Bernard Morris

Defensive POTG – Carlos Campbell

Ironman – Redd

Playmaker – Willis

Catch of the Game – Morris to Willis 40-yd TD

Highlight of the Game – Morris to Willis 40-yd TD

Player of the Game – Bernard Morris

Press scrum highlights to come following the Power’s fourth straight win…

Jason Willis: How does it feel to be in first place? “Love it.” Game didn’t go quite the way they wanted, but will take the win. Credits both TD catches to well-thrown balls by Bernard Morris on post patterns, thinks the coverage on the first one was a little tighter. Took the rivalry personally, credits Cleveland for being a physical team. Owners gave pep talk before this game. Confidence is growing, sky is the limit for offense if they improve consistency, execute better on 3rd and 4th down. A healthy Morris makes the difference. Knew DB’s played soft coverage, so tried to take advantage on short passes at first, then take them deep.

Chris Siegfried: The good news is simply being in first place, and having dug selves out of hole they put themselves in…though a lot of that had to do with injuries. Will be easy to keep focus moving forward because of how they played offensively tonight. Coach Mo Blanding (def. coordinator) said after the game team will be pretty good once they “put it together” offensively. Was uneasy about this game for much of the week, which he confided to his wife; was tough to get a read on what Cleveland would do. Tried to take delays at end of the game, because they knew Cleveland would try to let them score and stop the clock, extending the game. All in all, felt team protected the ball pretty well. Credits Gladiators for fighting hard. Best thing about Morris is the bottom line (5-1 as starting QB). Only a handful of QB’s who can run the ball like Morris, which is an x-factor in arena football; 44-yd scramble was “the dagger that won the game for us.” Will be focused for Tampa Bay next week, will have a tough time blocking NG Tim McGill, who “might be the best nose guard in arena football.” Won’t get overconfident because offense still needs to grow. Rocco likes to hold the ball more, but O-line protected him well; has a bright future. Threw some wrinkles at him to make him hold the ball more than is prudent. This is where they want to be, now the question is, what can they do with it. Team should be pretty healthy next week, though DL Dayon Benson needs to be re-evaluated. On officiating: has to see the tape of a couple calls, but “it is what it is” (said that with a smile). Carlos’ familiarity with Cleveland helped him read route, make game-saving INT (“He ran the route for the receiver”). Team doesn’t panic, and rises to challenges, even in defeat…can build from the team’s determination.

Gary Butler: Team is growing, and familiarity (i.e.: less injuries) helps on and off the field. Dan Raudabaugh has a quicker release than Kurt Rocco, which made getting to the QB easier this week than last. Doesn’t care about how it gets done, defense just cares about getting wins; no selfishness in that group. “I’m used to winning. I want to win. I want to do whatever it takes to win.” Coaches expect a lot out of the defense and the team as a whole on a daily basis. Coaches put them in position to “know what was coming [tonight]…and there’s nothing better than being one step ahead.” Doesn’t look at the scoreboard, doesn’t matter that last week’s game was much higher-scoring than this week’s, comfort level never changes (“I don’t breath easy until there’s no time left on the clock…everything’s close in arena football”). Learned from preseason scrimmage with Cleveland that the Glads would be a really feisty, hard-hitting opponent (a couple guys actually got ejected from that scrimmage). Had his head on a swivel looking for flags a lot; thinks questionable officiating is a byproduct of AFL refs having to officiate in several different leagues and not totally remembering the finer points of the rule book. Eager to get a second look at fumble he was in on that was ruled not a fumble. Toughness is a big part of his game, liked the gameday atmosphere and liked seeing a crowd of 9,000-plus–and 2,000 horns–in the stands.

More to come later, including final numbers…

Final numbers and thoughts from the aftermath of a hard-fought–and important–win by the Power:

*First, a correction…the Ironman of the Game, as voted on by the media, was actually Cleveland’s Robert Redd, not Levy Brown. If you go up a little bit, that correction has been duly noted. By the way, I voted for Willis for both Catch and Highlight of the Game, both of which game to fruition, and I also voted for him for Player of the Game. He seemed to step up and make plays that turned out to be huge on a night when Mike Washington, who has been the focal point of the offense, was contained.

One other correction–though this one is immaterial–it was the kicker Denny, not the holder Whalen, who threw the improv pass on Cleveland’s botched FG attempt.

*As previously mentioned, the success rate of Cleveland’s red zone defense was one of the best in the league (74.5%), but the Power were effective enough on their few red zone possessions to win the game…2-for-4, to be exact. Both scores were rushing touchdowns by Rue and Lucian, the third possession was the fumbled option to Washington recovered by Prentice Purnell–a ball that could have and should have been handled better–and the fourth possession was not a score, but it did entail the Power running out the clock to secure the win, and obviously that’s just as important as the two TD’s.

*Neither team has surrendered a lot of first downs this season, and the Power managed only 15 to Cleveland’s 22 last night. But there are a couple different ways you can look at that. Number one, three of Cleveland’s first downs were via penalty (only one of those for Pittsburgh). Number two, Pittsburgh made a couple big plays deep–particularly the two touchdown passes to Willis. Defensively the Power forced Cleveland to move the ball methodically; the longest Cleveland score was from 13 yards out, and Rocco’s longest pass of the night was 22 yards, as compared to Morris’ 40-yard scoring bomb to Willis in the second quarter.

*For the eighth time in 11 games the Power held an opponent under 50 points. If you can do that in the Arena Football League these days, you’re going to rack up a lot of victories. You’ll rack up even more if you make as many stops as the Power did (Cleveland was just 1-for-4 on 4th down). This is the third time this season the Power have held their opponent under 40; all three of those games have been home-field wins. The 32 points were the second-fewest of the season by the Glads.

(By the way, kudos to our web intern, Christine Newby, for that last stat–and if you haven’t gone onto 937thefan.com to read her game summary, you should. It’s a good one.)

*Including Morris’ scramble that essentially won the game–he just took off up the middle and followed a couple blocks upfield–the Power ran the ball more effectively than Cleveland, outgaining them 60 net yards to 17. How big a difference did the running game make? The Power are now 6-2 in games in which they score multiple rush TD’s.

Morris: 17-of-23 (73.9%…very efficient) for 210 yds, 3 TD; 8 rush, 64 yds

Rocco: 28-of-43 (65.1%), 261 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT; 5 rush, 12 yds, TD

Willis: 5 catches, 105 yds, 2 TD

Washington: 6 catches, 45 yds

Lewis: 9 catches, 104 yds (game-high), 2 TD

Redd: 6 catches, 49 yds, 2 TD; 77 all-purpose yds

Goodman: 12 catches, 97 yds

Mathis: 3 catches, 28 yds; 106 yds on 5 kick returns; game-high 134 all-purpose yds (the Power held Cleveland to 64 kick return yards by 3 different players)

Levy Brown: game-high 6.5 tackles (5 solo)

Royce Adams: led Power with 6.0 tackles (5 solo)

Lonnell DeWalt: 2 pass breakups; 2 catches for 22 yds, incl. GW TD

Purvis: 2.5 tackles, sack for a 7-yd loss

Carter: 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 QB hurry, sack for a 14-yd loss

Final thoughts:

You could argue the real hero of this game is Paul Edinger. He converted all five of his P.A.T.’s in a game where three missed extra points by counterpart Matt Denny proved to be difference-makers. Edinger’s accuracy rate, which was hovering around 84 percent, will go up, and you’d certainly like to see him keep that consistency going, while Denny’s accuracy rate, which was in the AFL’s top 10, will likely fall out of the top 10 when final Week 13 stats are computed by the league. Plus, the Power generally won the battle of field position, and that doesn’t happen without good kicking.

Rocco might have outgained Morris, but Morris, in the bigger picture, outplayed him, in my opinion. He made things happen with his feet, he is now 5-1 as a starter, and unlike Rocco, he didn’t turn the ball over (for the second week in a row), and he didn’t have any of his passes broken up. That is a byproduct of the Power’s offensive line, which probably played its best game of the season. They didn’t allow any sacks, and Morris seemed comfortable most of the night…and once again, how fitting is it that Mike Lucian, the Penn State grad who was a guest on Tab Douglas’ Saturday afternoon radio show on 93-7 The Fan, gets a big goal-line score in a tight game?

Defensively the Power delivered on Chris Siegfried’s prediction that his team would have an easier time rattling Rocco than they did Dan Raudabaugh of Dallas. They did a good job pressuring him and making him really work to keep Cleveland in the game. They hurried him three times (Morris suffered zero QB hurries), and they collected four pass breakups, not to mention three tackles for loss (Cleveland had none). The fact that Campbell, the ex-Gladiator, made the biggest defensive play of the game for either team, couldn’t have been scripted any better (he finished with three tackles, by the way).

On a separate note, I’ll never understand the need for excessive end zone celebrations. Yes, I appreciate the entertainment value of the AFL, but there are plenty of other ways to give fans their money’s worth without shooting your team in the foot. Robert Redd was the offender this week, and it cost the Glads valuable yardage on the ensuing drive. The same thing happened in Dallas last week, and frankly, I think it serves both opponents right that the Power ultimately won both games. And it’s not as though the refs are being stiffs like in the NCAA or NFL; both infractions were obvious. I say, act like you’ve scored before…because it’s the Arena Football League, so chances are, you have.

The Gladiators lived up to their defensive hype and made the Power work for this win, but personally I think the better team eventually did win…and I’m not convinced Cleveland is on Pittsburgh’s level after seeing this game. The Power are playing their best football of the year right now, whereas the Glads, seemingly, are not. Furthermore, though the breaks did even out, as they typically do, Cleveland got a couple breaks from these officials that, on a different day, with a different crew, could easily have gone Pittsburgh’s way. The forced fumble by Royce Adams at the beginning of the game was a clearly blown call, and it led to Cleveland’s first TD. Take that away, and it’s a two-score game. The fumble return TD by DeGrate that was called back was a more justifiable call (Rocco clearly attempted a forward pass while “in the grasp”), but certainly a close one. Tack on that touchdown, and it’s a three-score game. Far be it from be to openly blame everything on officials (hey, at least these guys were better than the yinzers in Dallas), but let’s just say that AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz has some things to sort out. The league could benefit from the use of instant replay.

Overall it’s tough to say anything negative about this Power squad, especially after knocking off a new rival for sole possession of first place in its division. Team chemistry seems to be stronger than ever (“I won’t allow selfishness,” said Gary Butler afterward), and Bernard Morris seems to be getting more and more comfortable in this offense. You’d like to see the Power continue to improve and clean up some of the mistakes (i.e.: dropped balls, fumbles, etc.), once again, made big plays on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense, which, once again, made a play in the second half that changed the game. But this team is clearly hitting its stride and, most importantly, staying healthy for a change, which you’d better believe has helped. They’re doing enough to win games and to put themselves in position to win games. Playing five of seven on the road to round out the season will not be an easy scenario to handle, but the Tampa Bay Storm, who host the Power next Saturday, definitely have their work cut out for them.

Our Pittsburgh Power live in-game blog (and post-game notes) will return in three weeks when the Power host the East Division rival Milwaukee Mustangs Sat., June 25. In the meantime, be sure to keep visiting 937thefan.com for continuing coverage of your first-place Pittsburgh Power!

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