Dodge City, K.S. – It was a tough loss for the Gladiators in their second meet up with the Dodge City Law on Saturday night. It came down to the final seconds where Duke City lost 62-65 with the lead at 16 seconds remaining in the game.
It seemed like déjà vu in Dodge City as the Gladiators fell to the Law again and this time by just 3 points. Earlier in the season, Duke City lost by a score of 52-59 where it came down to the last play and coming up short by inches.
In a game with a series of unfortunate events, Duke City started out strong in the first quarter by drawing first blood on a quick 13 yard grab by Running Back Antonio Bray with 12:41 on the clock. It didn’t take long for Dodge City to answer back on a 50 yard kickoff return. At the 4:57 mark, Quarterback Donavan Porterie found WR Dexter Manley on a huge 38 yard touchdown pass to take the lead. Kicker Brian Weems was unable to tack on the extra point and the score was settled at 13-7. With the last 7 ticks on the clock of the first, Dodge City’s Willie Jackson slipped in the end zone on a 2 yard run to take the lead 13-14.
The Gladiators started the second quarter with the ball in hand but turned over on a fumble forced and recovered for a 20 yard touchdown by Dodge City’s Gary Henderson. A consistent 7 play drive by the Gladiators led up to a 3 yard touchdown run by Bray and the gap closed at 20-21 with 8:09 on the clock. On the kickoff, Weems was able to nail a Lawman and give the team a chance to recover which would later result in an Andre London 13 yard TD pass to take the lead 27-21 with 6:08 on the clock. The Law would hold on to the ball for almost five minutes before they scored again to retake the lead. With 21 seconds left in the first half, the Gladiators couldn’t capitalize on a 31 yard field goal attempt by Weems as it went wide. A back and forth game between the team would end the first half with the Gladiators trailing 34-36 which included a rouge point given to Dodge City due to the Gladiator kick off team unable to get the ball out of the end zone.
The 3rd quarter started out with the Law scoring on a 1 yard run by their Quarterback Rudy Johnson. 7 plays later and 7:08 on the clock, Lucien Walker made sure he punched in the clock to keep the game within 2. Another successful drive by the Law extended their lead to 41-50 to end the 3rd quarter.
In the 4th quarter, the Gladiators drove for 6 plays before Porterie snuck in to score on a 1 yard run to make it 48-50 with 10:32 on the clock. The Gladiator defense wouldn’t allow Dodge City to press forward until 4:23 when the Law squeezed in another 1 yard TD run. It seemed as if the game was slipping away from the Gladiators until Porterie lasers to WR Sedrick Johnson on a 21 yard pass cutting the Law lead back to 2. Duke City’s defense would again hold the Law to a turnover and with 16 seconds remaining in the game, Lucien Walker walked into the end zone for 6. The Gladiators took the lead at 62-57 with just seconds in the game. Things became grim for Duke City as the Law returned the kickoff for the game winning touchdown. The game would end by a score of 62-65.
Porterie completed 30 of 40 passes, throwing for 306 yards, 5 TD passes, and just 1 interception. Bray took home 3 TDs, 2 of which were receptions and a total of 44 yards. Lucien Walker cashed in on 2 rushing TDs. On the defensive side, LB Jayson Serda came out with a total of 10 tackles, half a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble return and 2 break ups. Other notable defensive stats include DB Ray Berry with a total of 8 tackles and DB Ray Little with 1 interception.
As the path to the playoffs get smaller for the Gladiators, there still is a sense of hope within the team. With this loss, the playoff picture becomes dependent on what happens with the rest of the southern division.
Duke City now sits with a record of 4-5 and is already looking to next week’s game against the Texas Revolution (7-2) on the road for the third week in a row.
Duke City continues the season on the road this Saturday May 19th at 6:00 pm mountain time against the Texas Revolution where they faceoff for the first time this season. Fans can watch the online stream at DukeCityGladiators.com and follow along on social media with hashtag #DCGvsTEX.