Red-hot Gladiators face struggling Nighthawks at Clinton High field
The Rock County Gladiators are riding a six-game winning streak in Great Midwest Football League.
The Janesville Nighthawks are in a season-long struggle adjusting to the GMFL after competing in eight-man football.
The two Rock County teams meet at 5 p.m. Saturday at Clinton High School.
The Gladiators are in second place and are assured of a playoff spot when the GMFL regular season concludes next weekend.
Rock County is 6-2 despite playing the league’s toughest schedule, according to the strength of schedule listed on the GMFL website. The Gladiators trail Central Division-leading Twin City Dawgs by one game.
The Gladiators bumped off previously undefeated Chi-City Blitz in Chicago last Saturday, 30-28, in overtime. Rock County overcame a 28-7 fourth-quarter deficit, tying the game with three seconds left in regulation on a pass from Danny Roberts to Jermar Ayers.
The Gladiators won the game when the Blitz was called for offensive holding in its end zone in the waning moments of overtime.
The Nighthawks, meanwhile, are struggling on defense. Janesville has allowed 352 points in its eight losses, which are 110 more than the next-worse defense in the seven-division, 36-team league.
Nine Gladiators and three Nighthawks have been selected to the Gateway Conference all-star team, based on statistics turned into the league office.
The all-star game will be played in Aurora, Ill., the weekend of Sept. 16.
Roberts was selected at quarterback, with Ayers and Marchez Range picked as wide receivers.
Roberts leads all quarterbacks with 1,512 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 136.62. He has completed 95 of 186 passes for 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Roberts also is the sixth-leading rusher in the league with 386 yards on 68 carries and eight touchdowns.
Ayers leads the league with a 20.1 yards-per-catch average. He has 23 receptions for 462 yards and seven touchdowns.
Range also stretched defenses with a 17.9 yards-per-catch average with 19 receptions for 340 yards.
Nick Kopke was selected as an offensive guard.
On defense, Carl Crawford and Nick Hammon were selected at linebacker, while Shane Martin and Cody St. Michael were picked as cornerbacks.
Crawford is tied for eighth in the league with 42 total tackles. He has 23 solo and 19 assisted tackles.
Hammon ranks fourth in the league in sacks with 11.
Tyler Honeck is an all-league strong safety.
Hammon earned his second spot on the all-conference as a punter. He is averaging 41.5 yards on 23 punts. Seven of his 23 punts have been downed inside the 20.
Nighthawks honored are David Harper, receiver; Lucas Wimmer, offensive guard, and Randy Hamm, kick returner.
Hamm has averaged 15.8 yards on 18 kickoff returns.