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Power storms back to beat rival Gladiators

| Saturday, May 25, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

Power coach Derek Stingley hopes his team's 55-44 win Saturday night over the Cleveland Gladiators helps shape a new era of indoor football for the 3-year-old franchise.

“All we did was win our third game,” he said after the team rallied from a 16-point deficit to improve to 3-6 with its second victory in the past three weeks. “We expect to win many more.”

But it's the Power's new look that marked the storyline of a game played in front of an announced crowd of 5,340 at Consol Energy Center.

The victory snapped a 10-game home losing streak, dating to April 14, 2012, when the Power also rallied ­— from 31 points down — to beat Orlando.

More importantly, the offense has a fresh look. Three weeks after handing the starting job to quarterback Steve Sheffield, Stingley fired offensive coordinator Mike Tomczak on Friday.

He refused to comment further. But when asked if Tomczak was surprised by his ouster, Stingley said, “Very.”

Stingley had taken away Tomczak's play-calling responsibilities earlier this season. On Saturday, in his third start, Sheffield helped the Power score their most points of the season.

“There is nothing that can shock him,” Stingley said. “At practice, he coaches between plays.”

Sheffield, signed to a three-year contract, completed 18 of 30 passes for 286 yards and six touchdowns.

Sheffield, intercepted four times last week in a 62-34 loss to Tampa Bay, threw two more against the Gladiators (2-7). But he also helped the Power score 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

The decisive score was a 17-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Washington with 2:03 left in the game. The Power ensured the victory when defensive back Brandon Freeman intercepted a pass and Sheffield hit Julian Talley for a 34-yard TD pass.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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