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Friday, July 1, 2011

Cleveland Gladiators: Playoff Race!

Cleveland Gladiators are tied with the Pittsburgh Power atop the American Conferences Eastern Division with records of 8-6. There are only 4 games left, and Cleveland needs to win out to ensure a playoff berth. The Gladiators play the hapless Milwaukee Mustangs this week, who are a sad 4-10. The mustangs lost to Pittsburgh last week by a score of 39-38. Milwaukee had the lead and fumbled with 22 seconds left and let the Power score to lose the game. The Gladiators beat the San Jose SaberCats last week 82-21 with some amazing defense and nine turnovers. They should beat the snot out of the Mustangs this week.

Defensive beasts Levy Brown (Florida A&M) has 83 solos tackles, Joe Phinisee (Walsh)has 62 and Demarcus Robinson (Henderson State) has 52. They should have a monster game this week. They, along with Tim Cheatwood (OSU) will be the key for the Gladiators as they finish up the season. QB Kurt Rocco is impressive, as are his favorite targets Robert Redd and Troy Bergeron, but it will be their defense that steps up and wins this for them. They are tied for 5th in the AFL power rankings this week in part because of the great defensive play against the SaberCats.

After Milwaukee, the Gladiators travel to Philadelphia to play the Soul. They beat them earlier this season by a score of 59-41 in a game that was closer than the final score would make you think. However, they should win that one as well. It will all come down to the following game at home – July 15th - against Pittsburgh. Assuming that Pitt wins their next two games, that home game could will decide the winner of our conference and a trip to the playoffs.

It's great to have a winning team here in Cleveland and fans should really take a look at the AFL. I know the Indians are trying to get a division win, but if you love football like I do, then the AFL is the best place for you to be.

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