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ARENA FOOTBALL

Avengers rally but lose, 83-69

April 20, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Cleveland's Raymond Philyaw is a veteran Arena Football League quarterback who knows how keep plays alive and he gave the Avengers all they could handle Saturday night at Staples Center.

Philyaw, in his ninth season in the league, completed 30 of 39 passes for 411 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the Gladiators to an 83-69 victory.

The Avengers (3-5) received a big game from quarterback Tim Hicks, who completed eight touchdown passes, and receiver J.R. Tolver, who finished with 11 catches for 120 yards and four touchdowns.

But in the end, it was too much Philyaw and receiver Otis Amey, who finished with 15 catches for 208 yards and six touchdowns.

The Gladiators (4-3) ended a three-game losing streak.

Philyaw, a former standout at Louisiana Monroe who has played for five AFL teams in his career, was on top of his game in the first half.

He completed 17 of 22 passes for 246 yards and five touchdowns to lead Cleveland to a 41-34 lead at intermission.

Hicks completed 16 of 19 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to keep the Avengers close.

L.A. fought back after trailing by two touchdowns in the first quarter.

After Cleveland's Marlion Jackson scored his fourth touchdown, the Gladiators recovered a fumble on the kickoff and scored one play later -- Jackson again getting the tally -- for a 55-41 lead.

The Avengers rallied to tie the score, 55-55, behind Tolver's third touchdown reception and a scoring pass from Hicks to lineman Clay Harrell. The Avengers, however, could not make enough plays down the stretch and the game turned for good when Hicks fumbled late in the fourth quarter.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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