It’s not an absolute must-win game for the Gladiators (4-5), but can’t get much closer. If they were to lose to the Revolution their hopes of making the playoffs would be microscopic with two games remaining. That’s because, just for starters, the hard-charging Wichita Force (5-4) would have to lose to winless Centex next weekend and Dallas (6-3) would have to fall to 2-8 Kansas City.
This is the third consecutive road game for the Gladiators, who have lost their five games by a total of 16 points, including last week 65-62 at South Division-leading Dodge City (8-2) on a kickoff return for a touchdown with 10 seconds left. It was a particularly galling loss for coach Dominic Bramante’s team to digest considering Duke City overcame a nine-point deficit in the final 4 minutes to take a 62-57 lead with 16 seconds left. This outcome came on the heels of a 30-28 road loss to Amarillo (7-2).
“This season has been crazy,” Bramante said in a phone interview Wednesday. “When you have to play the schedule we have — twice at Amarillo and twice at Dodge City — it’s frustrating. And how come Amarillo and Dodge City don’t play each other even once?
“You have to play a perfect game against these teams on the road, because just one mistake could cost you.”
This will be the first meeting of the season between Texas and Duke City, but Bramante has seen plenty of tape of the Revolution.
“They’ve got the fastest receivers in the league,” Bramante said. “And in their last game against Amarillo (a 96-95 win on April 30), they even had four touchdowns on kickoff returns.”
UPCOMING: The Gladiators close their 12-game regular season with two home games at Tingley Coliseum. On May 27, they will host Amarillo. On June 3, Dodge City visits. Both kickoffs are set for 6:05 p.m.