The Pittsburgh Power kickoff their fourth season as a member of the Arena Football League this Saturday, March 15, against the Cleveland Gladiators. Kickoff at CONSOL Energy Center is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET.
The season opener marks the seventh meeting between the two franchises since the Power joined the AFL in 2011. Currently the all-time series is tied 3-3, with the Gladiators winning the most recent match up, 71-58, in week 16 of last season. The game was played at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.
Pittsburgh has returned only five players from their 2013 roster, including defensive backs Sergio Gilliam, Brandon Freeman, and Ricardo Kemp, kicker Julian Rauch, and linebacker Curtis Young. Last season, Gilliam led the team in interceptions (8) and tackles (90) to help the Power’s defense finish top in the League for the second year in a row.
Adding to the already tumultuous secondary, joining the Power for his first season is two-time ArenaBowl champion and 2013 ArenaBowl Defensive Player of the Game, Virgil Gray. The four-year AFL veteran has accumulated 321.5 career tackles and 35 interceptions. Last season for the Rattlers, Gray set a franchise single-season record for interceptions with 15.
Offensively, Pittsburgh will debut an entirely new squad on Saturday, including the 2012 AFL MVP quarterback Tommy Grady. Grady played the past three years with the Utah Blaze where he amassed 397 passing touchdowns and over 18,000 passing yards. To compliment Grady, the Power will showcase fellow Blaze teammates Aaron Lesuè and Shawn Kauleinamoku (cow-LEY-na-mo-ku) as targets for the 6’7” quarterback.
The four-year AFL veteran, Lesuè, has compiled 313 career receptions for over 3,700 receiving yards and 104 touchdowns. In 2012, he earned First Team All-Arena honors after setting a Blaze franchise record with 340 points scored. Kauleinamoku has played the past three seasons in the AFL on the rosters of the Spokane Shock (2010-11), the San Antonio Talons (2012), and the Utah Blaze (2012). The 5’10” wideout has recorded 156 career receptions for 1,940 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Product of a trade with the Orlando Predators this past offseason, the Power will also have record setting wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez on the field for Grady to pass to on opening night. Rodriguez played the past two years on the rosters of the Tampa Bay Storm (2012) and the Predators (2013) and has registered 244 career receptions for 3,267 yards and 73 touchdowns. Last season, he set Orlando’s franchise single-season record for receiving touchdowns with 41.
Pittsburgh’s Week One of AFL action will be televised locally on thisTV Pittsburgh with Craig Wolfley and Tim Benz calling the action online at ESPN3.com. Over the air, the game will be streamed on TribLIVE Radio with Ike Taylor, John Harris, and Ken Laird announcing.
Power single-game tickets are now available via www.ticketmaster.com and at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office located at CONSOL Energy Center. Season tickets and mini-plan ticket packages are also available for purchase at www.pittsburghpowerfootball.com or by calling the Power ticket office at 412-697-7846.
About the Pittsburgh Power
The Pittsburgh Power is a professional arena football team in the Arena Football League based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 2010, the team is owned by entrepreneur Matt Shaner, NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, and Trib Total Media. The team plays all their home games at CONSOL Energy Center, which also is the home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Tickets and Sponsorships are available for the 2014 season. For more information visit our website at www.pittsburghpowerfootball.com or call 412-697-7846. You can also follow the Power on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. CBS Sports Network will broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week on Saturday nights for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game pitting the American Conference Champions versus the National Conference Champions for the James F. Foster Trophy.