By Tonya Swim
Albuquerque, New Mexico-The Duke City Gladiators started out putting points on the board with their first possession, and never looked back.
Duke City received the ball first, but Conner Hollabaugh's kick hopped into the stands starting Duke City out on their own five yard line.
Caleb Holbrook found Dello Davis with a short pass putting the ball on the Duke City 14 then hands off to Jestin Kelly for a loss of two. Holbrook then finds Dexter Manley and gets the first down and the ball on the Duke City 17.
The next play, Holbrook scrambles, but a personal foul on the Venom move the ball up to the Venom 16. Holbrook finds Juwan Lewis but Venom players Terrious Triplett and Jeff Branch shut him down at the Venom one yard line. Holbrook tossed the ball to Kelly and Duke City was on the board. James Nachu got the PAT and Duke City is 7, Venom 0.
Nachu's kick went into the stands at the 10 yard line, so the Venom got to start there.
The Venom started their first play with a flag and that set the tone for the game for them. The false start pushed the Venom back to their own five yard line. Second play and still no action as Duke City's Paul Robinson drew a penalty putting the Venom back up to the 10 yard line. Nate Davis finally got a pass off to Alex Watson for a six yard gain, then a quick pass across the middle to Raymond Johnson Jr put the ball on the Venom 22. Three incomplete passes brought up the forth down, but a pass to Watson and an offside call on Duke City gave the Venom a replay of the down with the ball on the Duke City 23. Davis kept the ball sliding, but short the first down and turned the ball over on downs.
The next kickoff was not televised, first play saw Holbrook with an incomplete pass but trying again, finds D. Davis who is stopped on the Venom 14. A handoff to D. Davis then Kelly puts Duke City in the endzone increasing their lead to 14, 3:42 left in the first.
Former Gladiator Antonio Bray took the next kickoff, but was tackled at the one yard line, so the Venom start on their own five. N. Davis uses R. Johnson Jr. for two passes to get the ball up their own 19. Next two plays saw N. Davis with an incomplete pass then finding Watson in the endzone finally putting the Venom on the board with 1:09 left in the first quarter. Hollabaugh found the uprights for the point after, a flag on Duke City was declined. Venom 7 Duke City 14.
Hollabaugh's kick hops out and Duke City begins on their own five. Holbrook scrambles out to the Duke City 15 where he was stopped by Steven Fluker. A hand off to Lewis gets the ball to the Duke City 18 and ends the first quarter.
Starting off the second quarter, Holbrook's scramble was stopped by Steven Fluker on the Duke City 15. A deep pass to D. Davis at 14:52 pushed the Gladiators to 20 and Nachu remained perfect for the night putting Duke City up 21 Venom 7.
Nachu kicked onside and Venom's Terrious Triplett got the ball. An offside flag on Duke City gave the Venom the ball on the Gladiator's three yard line.
N. Davis had an incomplete pass, then tries to scramble, but was tripped up and fumbled. Venom Bernard Flores recovered. A holding call on Duke City gave the ball to the Venom on the one and a half yard line. N. Davis kept the ball for his 12th touchdown of the season, Hollabaugh missed the PAT putting the score Venom 13 Duke City 21 with 13:32 left in the half.
Gladiators start on their own five when Hollabaugh kicks the ball into the stands.
Holbrook has an incomplete pass but redeems with a pass to Manley who finds the endzone at 12:17 in the second quarter. Extra point is good, Duke City 28 Venom 13.
The kickoff hits the wall at the Venom 15 to start Amarillo off, then a N. Davis keeper gives them five more yards. N. Davis looked for Watson three times, but only completed twice putting the ball on the Duke City six yard line bringing up second and goal. N. Davis had another incomplete pass then found a receiver for a gain of two and the first down. After an incomplete pass, N. Davis found Jordan DeCorte in the endzone, then a shuffle pass to Watson for the two point conversion put the Venom 21 Duke City 28.
An onside attempt by Hollabaugh is taken by Duke City's Ibrahim Maiga giving them the ball on the Venom 15.
Holbrook moved the ball up with two passes the second to Kelly who was stopped by Nashawn Lewis and Desmond Railford on the Venom seven. A pass to D. Davis was a touchdown, adding the extra point by Nachu and Duke City expands their lead 35 Venom 21 with 4:47 left in the half.
Nachu kickoff was taken out by Cashmin Thomas and the Venom start on their own 14. N. Davis used a series of passes to Watson, Xavier Amey and R. Johnson Jr., to move the ball up to the Gladiator 14. N. Davis found Amey in the endzone for his eighth touchdown of the season. A Gladiator flag was declined and Hollabaugh missed the extra point but another flag on Duke City gave the Venom a replay and N. Davis used a keeper for the two point conversion. Venom 28 Duke City 35 with 2:26 left in the half.
Hollabaugh's onside kick was taken by Amarillo's Richard Mitchell and they start on their own 14. N. Davis finds R. Johnson Jr. for a five yard gain, then a pass to Amey for a touchdown. Extra point is no good. Venom 35 Duke City 35 with 1:18 left in the half.
The next kickoff wasn't shown, but a Holbrook pass out to D. Davis put the ball on the Venom 22. Two incomplete passes ran the clock down before a pass to Lewis added more points with 19 seconds left in the half. A game perfect Nachu added putting Duke City 42 Amarillo 35.
Thomas again took the kickoff, but a block in the back by Terrell Smith pushed to Venom back to their own nine to start. Davis found DeCorte for a gain, but another flag, and they didn't stop the clock effectively ending the first half.
The Venom started the second half on their own eight yard line. N. Davis found Amey on the second play and putting the Venom on their own 22 then a pass to Watson got them to the Duke City 19. An incomplete pass then an interception by Donnie Duncan finished out the play, Duke City will start on their own seven.
Holbrook used a series of running plays and passes to get the ball to the Venom nine, then a flag pushed them back to the Venom 14. An incomplete pass then an interception in the endzone by Triplett seemed to have finished the play, but a flag on the Venom gave the ball back to the Gladiators on the Venom 9. Another incomplete pass brough Nachu out for a field goal attempt and Duke City goes up three at 6:11 in the third. Venom 35 Duke City 45.
Bray took off with the next kickoff giving the Venom the ball on the Duke City 23.
N. Davis used a deep pass to R Johnson Jr. for the touchdown. Hollabaugh pat is good Venom 42 Duke City 45, 5:26 in the third.
The next ball was taken out by Robinson, but a flag on Duke City put the ball on their own 24. Taking a play from N. Davis, Holbrook uses a deep pass to D. Davis for the touchdown. Nachu remained perfect. Venom 42 Duke City 52 with 5:00 left in the third.
Bray takes the kickoff up to the Venom 15 then a N. Davis pass to R. Johnson Jr. moves the ball to the Duke City 22. A pass to Amey is a gain of eight, and incomplete pass and a handoff to Bray bring up a loss of three. N. Davis tried a keeper, but was tripped up and fumbled. Ball was recovered by Duke City on their own 10.
Holbrook got off two plays to move the ball up to the Duke City 15 to end out the third quarter.
Nachu's kickoff flew into the stands and the Venom got the ball midfield. N. Davis kept the ball to move up one yard then took two plays to find R. Johnson Jr. putting the ball on the Duke City 13. A pass to Ricardo Johnson got the Venom in the endzone then a good kick from Hollabaugh put the Venom 49 Duke City 59 with 10:47 left in the game.
Hollabaugh's kickoff went into the stands and Duke City starts midfield. Holbrook used a handoff to D. Davis, pass to Manley, pitch to D. Davis to move the ball up to the Venom seven. An attempted pass to Maley was broken up by Demario Donnell bringing up third and goal with the ball on the Venom seven. Holbrook headed to the endzone, but was stopped by Triplett at the one. Holbrook kept the ball again and put six on the board. Flag on the Venom was declined and the addition of the pat with 6:23 left in the game Venom 49 Duke City 66.
Kickoff was taken by Bray, but he was brought down on the one. Venom get the ball on their own five. N. Davis used three plays to find Amey twice moving the ball up to the Venom 22. N. Davis had another incomplete pass, flags were thrown for the late hit then picked up! N. Davis found Watson twice to get the ball into the endzone. A two point conversion failed with 2:12 left in the game, Venom 55 Duke City 65.
Hollabaugh used an onsides kick, but it was recovered by Duke City giving them the ball on the Venom nine. Holbrook passed to Kelly for the touchdown and the extra point with 1:36 left in the game, Venom 55 Duke City 72.
Thomas took the next kickoff out to the Duke City 18, but the ball was pushed back for a facemask to the Venom 16. N. Davis used passes to R. Johnson, R. Johnson Jr. and Amey for the touchdown. A pass to DeCorte for the two point conversion with 22 seconds left in the game, Venom 63 Duke City 72.
Hollabaugh's onside kick was taken by Duke City on the Venom 15. A pass to D. Davis resulted in a touchdown and Nachu remained perfect with 15 seconds left in the game, Venom 63 Duke City 79.
Nachu's kickoff hops into the stands and the Venom start on their own 10 yard line but time ran out.
Duke City is now the lone leader of the CIFL going 8-2. Salina Liberty and Amarillo Venom both share second with 7-3.