ALBUQUERQUE, NM--- Yes, the Duke City Gladiators took on an exhibition game versus the Texas Stealth. But don’t tell the Gladiators that this game didn’t matter. For them, it was time for battle.
On a night when they dominated in nearly every facet of the matchup, the Duke City Gladiators punished the Texas Stealth 76-12 on Sunday night in Tingley Coliseum.
Head coach Dominic Bramante said the Gladiators needed to perform well to prepare for next week’s game against Champions Indoor Football foe, the San Angelo Bandits.
“Our mindset was that it wasn’t an exhibition game and prepare for San Angelo. The playoff race has started so we need to play great football,” Bramante said.
Duke City propelled to a 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter, which set the pace for their authority the rest of the way. The Gladiators added 215 total yards, compared to only 70 total yards for the Stealth.
With typical starting quarterback Kasey Peters resting, former New Mexico Highlands University player Taylor Genuser received the nod under center. Genuser torched Texas for 12-19 passing, 150 yards and six touchdowns.
Genuser connected early and often with another former “Land of Enchantment” football connection, ex-Lobo Roland Bruno. The dynamic duo linked up for eight receptions, 104 yards and five touchdowns, a career-high for Bruno.
Bruno said although the Texas Stealth did not play exceptional defense, he soaked in every moment spent in the end zone.
“It was a lot of fun,” Bruno said. “As a receiver, that’s why you play the game. To do that five times in one game, it’s a great feeling.”
With a wide receiving crew in Bruno, Dexter Manley and James Cleveland, Bramante said the group is the x-factor of the team.
“We have the potential to have the best receiving core in the league from top to bottom,” Bramante said. “As the weeks have gone on, each receiver has stepped up.”
The Gladiators’ defense forced four turnovers and limited the Stealth to 2-11 on third-down conversions, along with 1-4 on fourth-down conversions.
The game also served as “Native American Culture Day”, which proceeded to honor Bramante with a Proclamation as the “1st Native American Head Coach in Professional Football History”.