Luke Drone finishes the 2012 season with a 1-2 record as the starting quarterback for the Rush.

Despite a slow paced first half, and despite injuries to Jared Perry and Terrance Turner, the Rush gave it everything they had. After a low scoring first half, both teams kicked it into high octane in the second half. The Rush and the Gladiators seemed to score at will in the final two quarters. At one point it seemed like the Rush had the advantage when the Gladiators benched starting quarterback John Dutton and replaced him with backup Matt Bassuener. But on the other hand it looked like the Gladiators had the leg up when the Rush resulted to using Kelvin Morris at wide receiver and shuffling the lineup to compensate for the injured Turner and Perry.

But neither team would budge and it came down to the wire. The turning point in the game came in the final minute. The Rush led 47-46 and had just recovered a failed onside kick attempt by the Gladiators. With 46 seconds left Luke Drone ran the ball on 3rd and goal but lost his footing and slipped on the turf and fell behind the line of scrimmage stopping the clock with 39 seconds left. On 4th and goal Drone attempted a red zone pass only for it to be intercepted by Gladiators defensive back Levy Brown and taken all the way back for a touchdown.

The extra point put Cleveland up 54-47 with just under 30 seconds remaining. But the Rush would come back and try to force overtime. It started with “Big Play” Reggie Gray taking a kick return deep out of his own endzone and out to the Rush 17 yard line. A couple of plays later Reggie Gray would catch his 48th touchdown pass of the season {he had 2 scores on the night} to tie the game at 54 with 9 seconds left. All the Rush needed was a couple of stops on defense to force the extra period. But a hail mary pass by Matt Bassuener with no time on the clock went off of the rebound net and it was caught by Gladiators receiver Dominick Goodman to end the game.

The Rush end the season with a 60-54 loss to the Gladiators. They finish the season with a road record of 3-6, and an overall record of 10-8. Reggie Gray’s two touchdown catches have given him a career high, as well as a franchise record for touchdown receptions in a season. Luke Drone finished the game completing 20 of 29 passes for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also had 2 rushing touchdowns as well. The big negative stat of the night is that the Rush defense finished the final six games of the season without recording a sack.  And since the Rush were eliminated from playoff contention two weeks ago, the Rush are now homeward bound to begin the offseason.

But I will keep you updated on all of the Rush’s offseason activities. I would like to personally thank the Rush organization, especially their Media Relations Manager Ryan Young for their hospitality, and giving me access to the team. I hope to do so again in 2013.

Here is the box score from tonight’s game:

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