Albuquerque, N.M. – It came down to the final seconds on Saturday night as the Gladiator defense put a complete stop to the San Angelo Bandits drive with just five seconds remaining and 5 yards to a game winning touchdown. Duke City’s defense stepped up and ensured the stop to give them a huge win.
The game was expected to be closer than the first meeting that took place earlier this season in San Angelo and the result exhibited just that.
The Gladiators were the first to score as quarterback Bryan Randall launched a 45 yard bomb to wide receiver Dello Davis and put six points on the board. It didn’t take long for San Angelo to answer back as Antonio Bray punched in a two yard run to even out the match. With just 2:49 remaining in the first quarter, Randall finds Davis deep for a 44 yard touchdown. The Gladiators just couldn’t convert the extra points as the first PAT was missed by kicker Cody Barber and the two point conversion couldn’t be completed by Taylor Genuser. As the clock drew down, San Angelo’s Bray grabs six points on a twelve yard pass from QB Chris Mitchell and at the end of the first quarter the Bandits had their first lead 13-12.
In the second quarter, both defenses stepped up to the plate and stopped the opposing team from advancing on the field. This included a Bandit pick by defensive back Jeremy Coleman early in the quarter where San Angelo held on to the ball for over six minutes until turning over on downs. That was all Duke City needed as three plays and twenty-five yards later, WR Damion Clark grabs a three yard touchdown reception to retake the lead 19-13. It didn’t take long for the Gladiators to force a turnover as Erik Brown blew up a Bandit pass play which resulted in a fumble and recovery for touchdown. Halftime drew near and San Angelo made sure to not go into the half unless they scored. They did just that to cut the Gladiator lead to five. 25-20 was the score at half.
The third quarter was defensively charged as the Gladiators went four and out in their first possession of the half. The Bandits seemed to have momentum until Duke City’s Ray Berry intercepted a toss made by Bandit Chris Mitchell. Gladiators made due with the ball and drove 45 yards in just six plays for a lead extension as receiver Sedrick Johnson makes his first touchdown reception of the game. Even though Duke City was leading 32-20, the Bandits made sure to not let the Gladiators get too far ahead. In just two plays and two passes to San Angelo’s Alfred Stephen, the Bandits score and cut the Gladiator lead down to six and the third period ended there.
In the final quarter, scoring was scarce as San Angelo Controlled the ball for nearly seven minutes. The Bandits were able to control the clock and field as they drove 45 yards to connect Alfred Stephen on a seven yard touchdown reception resulting in a 33-32 lead over Duke City. At the kickoff fans had a scare as Dello Davis returning the ball, fumbled and recovered on the Gladiator nine yard line. The Gladiators drove for 39 yards as they faced a fourth and goal situation on the Bandit three yard line. A quick snap and pass to Sedrick Johnson gave the Gladiators another lead with just 1:14 remaining in the game. As everyone knows, things can happen quickly in the indoor game. The Bandits were looking to burn the clock and put a touchdown on the board to potentially win the game as they were down by six. The Bandits started their drive on their own 6 and worked their way down the field only to set up at the Gladiator five. 17 seconds remained in the game as it was up to the Gladiator defense to put a stop to the pressing Bandits. San Angelo’s Mitchell attempted two passes that were incomplete and set up a fourth and goal situation with just 10.4 seconds remaining. With the snap and an incomplete pass from Mitchell to Gianni Carter, a turnover on downs resulted and a Gladiators victory ensued.
With the Gladiators defeating the Bandits 39-33, they move up in the rankings and take the top spot in the Southern division with an overall record of 4-1. Duke City is on a four game winning streak as they are only one of three teams to have just one loss in the league.
Quarterback Bryan Randall passed for 246 yards, five touchdowns and completed 20 of 30 pass attempts. On the end of Randall’s passes were Dello Davis who had two touchdown receptions on a total of 147 yards and Sedrick Johnson who had two touchdowns on a total of 92 yards. Defensive back Jayson Serda had a big night as he had a total of 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 3 breakups. Joining him on the defensive front was Ray Berry as he had a total of seven tackles, one interception, and 0.5 tackle for loss. To put the Gladiator defense into perspective, they had 12 players make at least one tackle.
The Gladiators go on the road to play their next game on Saturday April 16th, 2016 against the Dodge City Law as they look to make it a five game winning streak. Game time set for 6 PM mountain time and can be watched online at dukecitygladiators.com/watch.