Albuquerque, N.M. – It may not have been the perfect season, but ending the season with a win is a fashion that all teams hope for and the Duke City Gladiators (6-6) did just that with a 78-54 victory over the San Angelo Bandits (2-10).
Last week proved to be unfortunate for Duke City as they fell just short of a playoff berth with a loss to Amarillo. On Saturday night, the Gladiators faced the San Angelo Bandits for the third time this year and recorded the trifecta with the win.
The first quarter started with a bang when Duke City’s Cody Nuzzo kicked the ball into a member of the receiving team and the Gladiators recovered the fumbled ball. It was no problem scoring for the returning Quarterback Bryan Randall as he led the Gladiators in a 33 yard drive to draw first blood. San Angelo answered back and controlled the remainder of the first with a score of 13-6.
In the second quarter, a shootout ensued as both the Gladiators and Bandits scored 20 points apiece. Duke City tied things up early in the quarter, but San Angelo then took a 13 point lead as their own Blake Adams intercepted and returned 50 yards for a touchdown with 4:08 remaining in the half. As all who know the indoor football game, points can be scored rather quickly. Both teams went on to score in no more than 11 plays and the first half ended with a score of 33-26.
The second half started on a good note for the Gladiators as Emmanuel McPhearson returned the kickoff for 26 yards which set up QB Randall to make an 8 yard touchdown pass to WR Terrance Compton. The game was reset and it was all knotted up. Duke City then controlled the third as San Angelo only scored once early in the quarter. San Angelo was only able to muster up one touchdown while Duke City insured a total of 3 and a 47-40 lead at the end of the quarter.
The final quarter in the Gladiators season started with a huge 37 yard touchdown pass from Randall to Davis to move the lead to 13. San Angelo answered right back with a score in just 2 plays. From this point, it was all Duke City as some may call it a “score fest.” The Gladiators put another 25 points on the board to seal the deal on the game. Four different Gladiators scored in the fourth quarter including Dello Davis, Emmanuel McPhearson, Terrance Compton and Landrick Brody. The game was over and Duke City prevailed with a score of 78-54.
After the win, Head Coach Dominic Bramante was asked about his thoughts on the season and how it transpired. He stated, “Ending our season tonight wasn’t the result we were hoping for, but at least we ended in style and with a win.” And in style the Gladiators showcased a win the fans enjoyed.
Fans were such an integral part of this season as the Gladiators won 4 out of the 6 exciting home games.
General Manager and Co-Owner Matt Caward emphasized how important the fans are in the “Duke City.” Caward stated, “It is so amazing to see how much our fans enjoy this game and team. Being that this is only our second year, we have the best fans and support in the league and nation.”
As the Gladiator organization continues to grow, it shows that the community of Albuquerque and surrounding area is coming together to support the professional team that everyone can take pride in.
Co-Owner and CFO John Lopez felt that next year the organization will have a breakout season stating, “We are still in a building process to let Albuquerque know who the Gladiators are and I think that we are able to accomplish this because of the key people involved in our organization.”
GAME NOTES: Quarterback Bryan Randall made his starting return this past week as he was out with injury earlier this season. Randall threw 22 of 38, 302 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Wide Receiver Dello Davis continued his historic season as he had 4 touchdown receptions for 156 yards. Davis’ season consists of 38 touchdowns, 226 points, and 1,262 total reception yards. The Gladiators passed for a total of 2,675 yards and 64 passing touchdowns this season which puts Duke City at second in the league.
The Duke City Gladiator organization wants to extend a huge thank you to all the fans and sponsors who made the 2016 season a success.
The Gladiators wrapped up the 2016 season against the San Angelo Bandits with a victory by a score of 78-54. Duke City ended the season at .500 with a record of 6-6. Preparations for the 2017 season are underway. Fans can get more information including stats, merchandise and more online at DukeCityGladiators.com. Businesses interested in sponsoring next year’s season are encouraged to call 505-226-8006.