Black in the pros

CLEVELAND – After the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League folded last year, Luke Black was reassigned to the Cleveland Gladiators.

The Marietta native and former Fairmont State University standout couldn’t have been any happier.

For one thing, Cleveland is a lot closer to Washington County than Salt Lake City, making it easier for Black’s family and friends to see him play.

Then, as it turns out, the 25-year-old Black, a defensive end, happens to be on a winning and undefeated team.

The Cleveland Gladiators are currently 5-0 in the American Conference’s East Division of the Arena Football League, going into Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against the visiting Pittsburgh Power (3-2). Earlier this season, they rallied to beat the Power 63-53 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Gladiators play their home games at Quicken Loans Arena on a padded surface.

Last Saturday, Cleveland defeated the Spokane Shock, 52-50.

The Arena Football League also includes the Arizona Rattlers, Iowa Barnstormers, La. Kiss, Philadelphia Soul, San Antonio Talons, San Jose Sabercats, Orlando Predators, Jacksonville Sharks, Portland Thunder, New Orleans VooDoo, and Tampa Bay Storm. The season runs from March 15 to July 26.

Previously, on the professional level, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Black also played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. He also dressed for the Cincinnati Bengals in an exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers.

Black, who prepped at Parkersburg Catholic, is the son of Gregg and Sheri Black of Marietta. He has two older brothers in Vince and Nate.