Curtain falls on season to forget

The final week of the season summed up what kind of year it was for the Gladiators.

They had to move their last game to Monday because the circus had booked the Orleans Arena, and even worse, the elephants defecated on the field Thursday.

It created an odor as bad as the season itself, which mercifully ended in a 73-46 loss to the San Jose SaberCats in front of about 2,000 fans.

“I don’t want to blame anybody (for the elephants) because it’s just one of those things that when you’re having a bad year it seems like it happens,” said coach Danton Barto, who was fired in May but finished out his only season with the Gladiators. “If we were winning, I guess it would be comical.”

There was little to laugh about. The Gladiators (2-14) enter the Arena Football League record book tied for the third-most losses, and their 10-game home losing streak also ties for the third poorest. The previous worst season for the franchise was a 2-12 mark in 2001 when it was based in New Jersey.

“It was a tough year, but you don’t like to see the year end,” said Gladiators quarterback Nick Rolovich, who played the second half and completed 10 of 19 passes for 192 yards and four touchdowns.

The Gladiators outscored San Jose 29-14 over the final 19:06. The game was decided by then, in a performance that typified the season.

Sure-handed Gladiators wide receiver Travis LaTendresse (seven catches for 132 yards) dropped a potential touchdown pass, forcing Las Vegas to settle for a field goal. San Jose scored 10 points on fumbles by quarterback Brian Jones and wide receiver Thabiti Davis in the final minute of the first half to take a 38-10 lead.

The SaberCats then scored three touchdowns before their offense took the field in the second half to make the score 59-17.

Then it was merely a matter of counting down the final minutes on a dreadful season.

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