Dodge City, K.S. – At the United Wireless Arena in a small town in Kansas, the matchup between Duke City and Dodge City was anticipated to be a barnburner. The game lived up to its expectation and it came down to literally inches as the Gladiators fall short to the Law 59-52.
The rivalry that the Gladiators and the Law have has become one of the league’s most intense matchups with fireworks every time they meet.
It was a little bit of a rough start for the Gladiators in the first quarter as Quarterback Donovan Porterie threw an interception on the first drive. This resulted in Dodge City scoring on the interception and giving them a lead with 13:04 on the clock. It wasn’t long before Porterie answered back with a 5 play drive and a 6 yard touchdown pass to the Running Back star of the night Lucien Walker. As soon as the Law started their drive, a beautiful pick six by Defensive Back Ray Little gave the Gladiators the lead in just 21 seconds. The shots were returned with 6:50 left in the first as Dodge City drove to tie it up and that’s where the score stayed for the end of the quarter.
As the 2nd quarter began, it only took the Law 27 seconds and a 16 yard pass to their own Daniel McKinney to take a 21-14 lead over the Gladiators. To cut the lead down, Kicker Brian Weems successfully kicked a 21 yard field goal which brought the score to 21-17 with 8:35 on the clock. The Gladiator defense proved their strength in the game as Dodge City’s Rudy Johnson fumbled the ball and was recovered by Kyle Patterson for a defensive touchdown to give the Gladiators the lead at 23-21. Duke City continued to put pressure on the Law as a 41 yard drive in just three plays pushed the lead to 30-21 as Running Back Antonio Bray ensured the touchdown with 32 seconds remaining in the first half. As mentioned before, the game between both teams would be a shootout and the Law scored in just 18 seconds to close out the half with a score of 30-28.
The 3rd quarter was a defensive battle for both teams. Defensive Lineman Jaymar Latchison showed his strong arm with an 8 yard sack. Latchison finished the game with 8 total tackles, 4 of them were for losses. The Gladiator defense continued to hold the Law in which they settled for an 18 yard field goal by Jared Wood to slide over Duke City 31-30. Both team defenses battled the rest of the third quarter with no offense having a chance to score any more.
The Law started the 4th quarter with the possession and made quick work to further their lead to 38-30 by a 3 yard rush by their own Ricky Lewis. With 11:36 on the clock, Duke City’s Lucien Walker continued his touchdown parade as a 9 yard touchdown rush brought the Gladiators to only trail 38-36. A two point conversion was on the docket to tie things up, but was unsuccessful. Dodge City would continue to drive and increase their lead to 44-36 in just two plays. As the clock hit 8:54, a beautiful 40 yard touchdown pass to Walker gave the Gladiators the lead with a score of 45-44. A 25 yard pass from Dodge City’s quarterback to McKinney gave the Law a 7 point lead with just 8:38 to go. Even though it looked like Dodge City had the game in the bag, the Gladiators made sure to tie things up with another Lucien Walker touchdown by way of a 2 yard rush. With a knotted score of 52-52, Dodge City pulled out a 37 yard drive to take the lead with 49 ticks remaining on the game clock. The Gladiators needed to drive 44 yards to tie things up. Porterie rushed for 5 yards to try and make some magic happen. This set up Julian Walker to receive two passes for 26 yards and good field position to score. A hurry up offense led to a two yard loss for Porterie at the Dodge City 15 yard line. With three seconds left, Porterie snapped the ball and made a huge toss to Andre London for a chance to tie. As time expires London makes the 14 yard catch and falls inches from the goal line. Dodge City defeats the Gladiators by inches, 59-52.
Head Coach Dominic Bramante said, “We made mistakes that we shouldn’t have and that game was ours to win. We now need to focus our attention on Amarillo this Saturday March 11th.”
QB Donovan Porterie finished the game 24 of 36, 249 passing yards and 2 touchdown tosses. Running Back Lucien Walker had an outstanding game as he had 2 rushing touchdowns and 2 touchdown receptions at 47 yards. On the defensive side, outstanding players include Defensive Back Jayson Serda who totaled out at 10 tackles, Jaymar Latchison with 8 total tackles and Ray Little with a pick 6.
The Gladiators play their first regular season home game in the first of a four game season series against Southern Division opponent, the Amarillo Venom. The matchup takes place this Saturday March 11th, 2017 with kick-off at 6:05 PM at Tingley Coliseum (300 San Pedro Dr. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108). Doors will open at 4:30 PM.