Week 14 Preview
Despite a valiant effort out in Arizona, the Power came away with a loss meaning that they head to Cleveland this weekend to take on the Gladiators knowing they can finish no better than .500 on the season.
This will be the second time Pittsburgh faces the Gladiators on the year, the first meeting ended in a 58-43 loss after holding a 21-7 lead early in the game. It was Pittsburgh’s second straight loss at the time and five weeks later they are in the exact same position.
During the first meeting of these teams, Bryan Randall made his first career AFL start and performed admirably throwing for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Randall will be the signal caller the second time around and Power Head Coach Derek Stingley thinks that will make a big difference, especially considering Cleveland is the league’s number one ranked scoring defense.
“Cleveland is a physical defense,” Stingley said. “They do some things up front that get the quarterback flushed out of the pocket. I think it’s a big benefit that he’s already seen this defense and knows what to expect.”
Stingley has also been happy with how his quarterback has developed since his first start on April 28 and was very high on his potential.
“I think Bryan is a long term starter,” he said. “Just the way he handles the team. If he continues to make the improvements he’s making, he’s going to be one of the good quarterbacks in this league.”
Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t too shabby either. Ranked first overall in total defense, the Power were able to keep the Arizona Rattlers out of the endzone in the fourth quarter of last week’s game to put Pittsburgh in a position to possibly make a comeback.
This week, Stingley’s defense will have the task of holding back AFL-Great John Dutton, who threw for 281 yards and six touchdowns the last time these teams met.
Despite coming closer and closer to the point where reaching the playoffs is mathematically impossible, Stingley is still preaching heart and attitude from his players.
“It’s all about still finishing strong regardless,” he said. “My message is if you still want to play in this league, you’ve still got to produce.”
Former Cleveland Gladiator Davion Mitchell stood out defensively picking off Power quarterbacks twice on Tuesday night’s practice. He’s excited for the chance to head back and see/compete against his old teammates.
Cutters better be ready to crown someone from the Power after the catches made this week at practice. P.J. Berry and Randy Hymes each made fantastic one-handed catches while Mike Washington made another flipping over the boards. A.J. Jackson added a tough grab over the middle, which he took to the house for a game-winning score in the one minute drill.
Quotes of the Week
Coach Stingley was unaware his defense ranked first overall in overal yardage allowed but says that isn’t really a concern of his with the team’s record.
“To me it’s numbers. The best number out there in the world for us is the win-loss number and having than more points than Cleveland at the end of the game.”
Stingley also addressed whether he saw his eight games as head coach as an audition to be in Pittsburgh next season.
The way the league is structured, all head coaches are on an interview for every year. I’m pretty sure it’s the same for me.
Cleveland Gladiators (6-5)
Last Game: L at Iowa 70-62
Player to Watch: Joe Phinisee- The last time out, Phinisee was able to pick off Bryan Randall and return it for six. If the Power can avoid a secondary that Coach Stingley says is one of the most physical in the league, they will have a good chance to win the ball game.
Game Time: Kickoff from “The Q” is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Friday night. If you aren’t taking our fan bus out to Cleveland, you can listen to the game on TribLive Radio and it will also be broadcasted on our Ustream page.