GJ Gladiators top Predatorz

Grand Junction Gladiators running back Tony Kemper finds a big hole in the first half during the team’s game at Stocker Stadium.

The Grand Junction Gladiators are one win away from an APFL2 championship.

The Gladiators on Saturday defeated the Mile High Predatorz 24-6 before about 250 people at Stocker Stadium in the minor-league football semifinal.

And Grand Junction’s win over the squad from Denver is perhaps another indication of football talent on the Western Slope.

“It means we have players, too,” Gladiators coach Will Jones said. “Everybody thinks because they’re a big city they have all the players. We have them, too.”

The Gladiators (6-1), in their third season, will go for their first championship at the Denver Titans on Aug. 11. The Titans were the only team to beat the Gladiators this season, a 12-6 win on June 23.

On Saturday, the Gladiators won with two jump-ball touchdowns to Lawrence Scott, a stifling defense that had eight sacks, and, on the game’s first score, a flying-V type quarterback sneak on fourth-and-3 from the Predatorz’ 6.

Behind a wedge, where the linemen stepped into the hip of center Nick Held, Gladiators quarterback Kevin Brunn took a short-yardage play six yards into the end zone behind the plow.

“We make a wedge like birds,” Held said. “If we didn’t have that camaraderie we have, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

And Scott’s two leaping touchdowns left the Titans a bit shocked.

“They didn’t think I could jump as a white guy,” Scott said. “Even their linebacker told the ref it’s not fair that I can jump that high as a white boy. The advantage I have is I know my route I’m running, I trust where the ball’s going to be, and I have hands, and when I catch it, it’s done.”


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