Pregame capsule: Dixie Rebels vs. Great Falls Gladiators

Dixie Rebels (5-0, 2-0 Utah South Division) vs. Great Falls Gladiators (0-5, 0-2 Montana Division)
Saturday, 3 p.m., at Davis High School

Previous Meeting: This will be the first meeting between the Rebels and the expansion Gladiators.

H6SN_Dixie_Rebels_Semi_ProHead Coach: Dale Stott
Offense: Multiple
Defense: Pro 4-3, Nickel
PPG: 33.4
PAPG: 21.2
Last Game: Beat Utah Stealth 43-39
Players to watch: Offensively, Stott may again get in some work with the passing game against an opposing lowly defense. The Rebels got in more passing sets in prior games against inferior teams. Though the Rebels’ bread and butter is the running game, it can be argued that the pass has come up big in crucial situations against the better teams they have faced, notably in their overtime win against the Utah Shock, when Tupe found Jordan Loo wide open on play-action for the game-winning touchdown. Expect the receiving corps of Brennan Adams, Tanner Wood and Villiami Hafoka to see plenty of looks. Defensively, Jordan Mains and Wayne Alofipo anchor the line. Doug Roberts has been outstanding at linebacker. In the secondary, Brandon Thompson leads the teams in tackles and Shawn Mitchell leads the team in interceptions.
Trend: The Rebels had a bye last week and all teams are off for Memorial Day next week. Sandwiched in between the two weeks off, the Rebels play the Great Falls Gladiators, which relatively is another week off. The Gladiators are not only winless but also scoreless. Not only is Great Falls an expansion team, but many of their players from the 7-1 RMFL AA runner up team switched to the Montana Blaze. That has become a recipe for disaster for the Gladiators. Also, even though it is listed as a home game for Great Falls, it is being played at a neutral site (Davis High School) 200 miles closer to St. George than Great Falls. Even if Stott plays his third and fourth stringers the whole game, it will not be pretty.

Gladiators_logo_largeOffense: Multiple
Defense: 4-3
PPG: 0.0
PAPG: 34.8
Last Game: Lost to Montana Blaze 43-0
Players to watch: Offensively, the Gladiators are led by Anthony Rhanes at quarterback. Rhanes also leads the team in rushing. Maurice Jones is their leading receiver. Defensively, the team is led by Dante Simpson in tackles.

This would not have been a close game even if the Blaze had not pillaged the Gladiators’ best players prior to the start of the season. The Gladiators are reminiscent of the first-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers back when the NFL handcuffed expansion teams upon their entry into the league. Great Falls is being blown out not only by elite teams (Utah Stealth), but also prior winless teams (Boise, Billings). It will be a rough day for the Gladiators against the top-ranked Rebels. Ona positive note, the Gladiators do have a very cool team logo.

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