Victory picks up Las Vegas

Winning can make a big difference, even for a team just playing out the schedule with a lame-duck coaching staff.

The Gladiators (2-10) edged Utah 54-53 on May 18 to end a nine-game losing streak and, after last week’s bye, will try today for their first consecutive wins this season.

"They believe in themselves again," Las Vegas coach Danton Barto said. "It’s not a fluke win. So Utah was struggling, but they just went and beat Orlando, so I think it even makes you feel better as a player.

"It was a good feeling in the locker room, and it was a good feeling on the sideline because in the third quarter those guys started believing that they could win the football game."

The Gladiators host another struggling team today, the 3-10 Arizona Rattlers.

Arizona won the previous meeting 68-41 on March 23 in Phoenix. But this game is about more than revenge.

Barto and his staff were fired the week of the Utah game, effective at season’s end, and are auditioning for other teams. The Gladiators players are trying to prove they belong in Las Vegas or with another Arena Football League team.

Gladiators general manager Sam Jankovich said about 20 players are under contract but many won’t return. He said he would like to re-sign free-agent quarterback Nick Rolovich, fullback/wide receiver Marlion Jackson, wide receiver Thabiti Davis and offensive lineman Tupe Peko.

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