Photo by Scott Adamson
By Tonya Swim
Albuquerque, New Mexico-The Wichita Force(4-8) came into the home of the Gladiators(10-2) with the determination to move on to the next round, and until the last three and a half minutes in the game, it seemed that they would walk away with the win.
The Force received the ball first.
Edward Smith Jr takes the ball out and up to the Duke City 19.
Rocky Hinds steps up but the play starts out with an offside against Duke City and the Force get the ball on the Duke City 14. Hinds finds D.A. Allen with a pass putting the ball on the Duke City 11 then an incomplete pass brings up third and one and a half yards. A false start on the Force puts the ball back to the Duke City 16 and another incomplete pass brings up the forth and seven along with the field goal team. Brett Mathis attempts the 36 yarder and is successful. The Force strike first, 11:52 in the first quarter, Force 3 Duke City 0.
Mathis kickoff taken by Dello Davis and out to their own 15 before being taken down by Marcus Carter.
Caleb Holbrook passes to Juwan Lewis putting the ball on their own 21 then a pass to Davis gave them first and 10 and the ball midfield. Holbrook tried a reverse to Sedrick Johnson, but brought up a loss of two. An incomplete pass brought up third and long, but then a penalty against the Force gave them the ball on the Force 23. Two more incomplete passes and the Force took over on down on their own 23.
Hinds first pass was tipped, batted, tipped again then batted down by Charles Johnson. A pass to C. Johnson then Jarrell Kelley got the ball up to the Duke City 14. Finding C. Johnson again, brought up first and goal with the ball on the eight. Hinds took off and with Allen blocking ran into the end zone. Mathis' extra point was good and the Force went up 10 Duke City 0 with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
Kickoff was taken by Davis up to the Force 22. Holbrook handed off to Clifton Rhodes for a three yard gain than a pass to Rhodes was complete for the touchdown. Duke City was on the board 4:07 in the first. James Nachu point after was good. Force 10 Duke City 7.
The kickoff was touched by Joe Hubener and the Force start out on their own 20.
Hinds' pass was tipped by Matt Moss then he handed off but flags flew for a holding against the Force pushing them back to their own 10. Hinds finds Allen for a gain of eight then C. Johnson for the 32 yard pass and run touchdown combo. Mathis hit the uprights for the one, flags on the play, against Duke City. Declined and with 1:57 left in the first quarter, Force 17 Duke City 7.
Rhodes took the kickoff, fumbled then recovered the ball.
Holbrook found Rhodes to get the ball up to midfield. A pass to Jared Elmore then to Lewis brought Duke City within three points. Holbrook called a timeout before the PAT, but Nachu put the ball up and through. Force 17 Duke City 14 with seconds left in the first quarter.
Nachu's kickoff was taken by Kelley up to the Wichita nine yard line.
Hinds pass was incomplete due to coverage by Fred Griggs. Pass to C. Johnson gained three then a pass to Maurice Young brought up the fourth and two with the ball on the Force 17. Mathis attempted a 45 yard field goal, but it went way left and Duke City got the ball on their own five.
Holbrook starts with a deep pass but it misses Davis. Holbrook had another incomplete pass then used a pump fake to run with the ball. Evan Ray was there for the coverage of another pass and the Force get the turnover on downs on the Duke City 12 with 10:51 left in the half.
First play of the possession and Hinds called a timeout. First pass was intercepted by Griggs and Duke City starts on their own nine.
Holbrook is sacked by Keenan Gibbs for a loss of nine, a pass to Elmore gained one and a hand off to Lewis put the ball on the Duke City 21 for the first and 10. A pass to Davis and hand off to Rhodes put the ball on the Force 14. An incomplete pass brought up second and 10, and a scramble forced the keeper for a gain of two. A pass to S. Johnson got the ball up to the Force seven, bringing up fourth and second. As Holbrook scrambled looking for a receiver, he was grabbed by Marcus Carter, but fires it off to S. Johnson in the end zone for the touchdown. Nachu added the one and Duke City goes up 21, Force 17 with 4:46 left in the half.
Kickoff skimmed the sideline, but was touched by Kelley. A false start on the Force backs them up to their own five. Hinds finds C. Johnson twice but an incomplete pass brought up second and 10. Two passes to Allen and the Force was back to first and 10 with the ball on the Duke City 18. An incomplete pass then a pass to Smith Jr. gained nine. Time out, Wichita. Hinds found C. Johnson then Young and got the ball to the Duke City one. Hinds then uses his 335 pound man, James McCartney to bowl through the Duke City defense for a touchdown. The extra point was no good and with 18 seconds left in the first quarter, Force 23 Duke City 21.
Lewis took the kickoff up to the Force 20.
Holbrook's first pass was intercepted by Kendrick Harper and the Force start on their own 15.
Hinds nearly mirrored Holbrook when his pass slipped through the hands of Paul Robinson. A false start pushed them back to the 10 then to end the half, Hinds fumbled the ball, but also recovered it.
Starting the second half, Rhodes took the kickoff up to the Force 20.
Holbrook had an incomplete pass then a run was stopped on the Force 15 by Gibbs bringing up the third and six. Time out Duke City.
Pass is incomplete, but flags for illegal defense moved the ball to the Force 11, a run didn't gain, but another flag for illegal defense moved the ball five more to the Force six. Two incomplete passes and a pass batted down by Carter brought up fourth and goal and the field goal team. Nachu made the 19 yard field goal and at 10:19 in the third, Force 23 Duke City 24.
Nachu's kick goes right out of the field of play giving the Force the ball midfield.
Hinds found Allen for a six yard gain then a pass to C. Johnson got the ball on the Duke City 15. Duke City put the pressure to Hinds as he scrambles but finds Smith Jr. for a 12 yard pickup to the Duke City four.
The next play was nearly comical. Hinds handed off to McCarty, but flags came out and the defense thought the play was called dead. McCarty walked into the end zone for the touchdown and because the flag was for illegal defense, it was declined in lieu of the six. Mathis added the one and with 7:32 left, Force 30 Duke City 24.
Kickoff was taken out, but Davis fumbled and it was recovered by Elmore. A dead ball foul against the Force gave Duke City the ball on the Force 19.
Holbrook found Lewis and Davis to get the ball up to the Force four, but the next hand off to Lewis was stopped on the one yard line by Evan Ray. Holbrook again handed off to Lewis, Lewis fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Dontrell Johnson keeping the ball with Duke City. Holbrook snuck into the end zone and after a late call it was confirmed a touchdown. Nachu remained perfect and Duke City went ahead 31, Force 30 at 4:41 in the third.
Kickoff flies out of the field of play giving the Force the ball midfield.
Hinds passes to Joe Hubener for a five yard gain, then three incomplete passes brings out Mathis for a 33 yard field goal attempt. The kick was good and at 2:05 left in the third quarter, Force 33 Duke City 31.
Davis took off with the next kickoff up to the Duke City 21.
Holbrook handed off to Davis for a 13 yard gain then a fumbled hand off was recovered by Force's Evan Ray and the Force start on their own 15.
Hinds' first pass was incomplete, but a pass interference call and an unsportsmanlike on the Duke City coach put the ball on the Duke City eight. Another incomplete pass, but another flag put the ball half the distance to the goal on the Duke City 5 when the third quarter ended.
Hinds hands off to McCartney, but he's tripped up at the Duke City two. McCartney again for the hand off, but was stopped for no gain. Coverage by Elmore created an incomplete pass bringing out Mathis for a field goal attempt. 12:49 left in the game, Force 36 Duke City 31.
The next kickoff went off of a Duke City player putting the ball back to their own five.
Holbrook starts out with an incomplete pass then a pass to Elmore, who was stopped by Ray on the Force 23. A fake then hand off to Lewis for for a small gain thanks to Chris Hemphill then an incomplete pass brought up third and seven. Another pass, but tipped by Carter and another incomplete pass gave the Force the ball on downs on their own 20 with 9:01 left in the forth quarter.
Hinds finds Allen for a gain of nine then keeps the ball for the one gain and the first and 10 on the Duke City 20. Hinds spiked the ball on the next play as flags came out on the Brett Bowers off sides. C. Johnson took the next pass and got the ball to the Duke City nine. Bowers connected with Hinds for a sack and loss of six. Time out Duke City. Hinds scrambles then tries a shovel pass, but it was incomplete and nearly intercepted by Jayson Serda. Hinds finds Smith Jr. but doesn't get the first down bringing out Mathis for a 20 yard field goal attempt. 4:30 left in the fourth and the Force 39 Duke City 31.
Davis takes the kickoff out to the Duke City 10 yard line.
Holbrook has an incomplete pass then a long, deep pass to Davis for a 40 yard touchdown pass.
Duke City attempts the two point conversion, but it was incomplete, penalty for roughing the passer put the ball half the distance to the goal and a replay of the conversion. Holbrook hands off to Lewis but he's stopped on the one yard line. 3:29 left in the game, Force 39 Duke City 37.
Nachu does an onside kick, Elmore gets the ball and Duke City start again on their own 13.
Holbrook hands off to Davis for a one yard gain then a deep pass to Elmore is complete for the touchdown. The extra point is good and with 2:30 left in the game, Force 39 Duke City 44.
C. Johnson takes the kickoff up to the Duke City 23.
Hinds passes to Allen for a gain of nine then a pump fake runs the ball for a loss of one. Hinds finds Hubener to the the ball to the Duke City 10. Two incomplete passes bring up third and goal, A false start on Darren Marquez pushes them back five then the next pass was tipped by Serda then Little before landing in the hands of Donnie Duncan giving Duke City a chance with the ball with 23 seconds left in the game and the ball on the Duke City 16.
Time out Duke City.
Holbrook kept the ball to get it up to their own 17. Time out Force. Two more keepers brings up fourth and nine, but a sideline warning on Duke City puts the ball back to their own 12. Nachu comes out, but essentially needs to kick the ball over the wall, not through the uprights to give the Force the ball on their own five. He misses the field goal, as per decided and with 3.4 seconds left, the Force comes out for one last chance. Force 39 Duke City 44.
The Force fumbles the snap, Terrale Johnson recovers it then hops rolls into the end zone for a touchdown to end the game. Force 39 Duke City 50.
"It was a tough loss.The way we lost made it worse." said Force player D.A. Allen. "I'm proud of the fellas. We went out and battled from beginning to the end. Duke City's a good team, hats off to them.
Duke City will host the winner of the Monday night game between the Amarillo Venom and the Texas Revolution.