The Cleveland Gladiators' first appearance in the ArenaBowl is one they may want to forget.
The Gladiators were routed 72-32 by the defending champion Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXVII on Saturday night in front of 18,410 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
It was the largest crowd to see an Arena Football League game this season and the largest home crowd in Gladiators history.
Arizona won the ArenaBowl for the third straight season and fifth time overall. The Rattlers have played in nine ArenaBowls in their history.
The Rattlers' defense intercepted four passes on the night to seize control of the game.
Thyron Lewis was a bright spot for Cleveland, posting eight catches, 134 yards and a touchdown for the Gladiators, who finished the regular season with a record-setting 17 wins.
Arizona's opening drive resulted in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Nick Davila to Rod Windsor, and the Rattlers never surrendered their lead.
The Gladiators drove to the Arizona 8-yard line on their first offensive series of the game, but the Rattlers' Kerry Reed intercepted a Shane Austin pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to extend their lead to 14-0.
The Gladiators' Collin Taylor found the end zone when Austin connected with him from 9 yards with 2:28 left in the opening quarter to cut the Arizona lead to 14-6, but Arizona promptly scored 23 straight points to take a 37-6 lead with 5:05 remaining in the first half.
Arizona had seized the momentum in the game when Cliff Dukes sacked Austin in the end zone for a safety with 12:47 left in the second quarter. Overall, Arizona outscored the Gladiators 30-7 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
The two clubs battled back-and-forth in the second half, with Arizona outscoring the Gladiators 21-20 in the second half to preserve the 72-32 victory.
Dominick Goodman posted a standout second-half for the Gladiators, registering all three Cleveland touchdowns in the second half. Goodman finished the game with seven catches for 60 yards and three touchdowns.
Austin completed 18-of-41 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. In a relief appearance, quarterback Chris Dieker completed four of his nine passing attempts for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gladiators and Rattlers did not play during the regular season, and before Saturday night's contest had not met since May 28, 2011.
The ArenaBowl marks the first loss for the Gladiators at Quicken Loans Arena this season.