“We just got to come back with an attack mentality, and be ready to get better as a whole.” — Duke City defensive back Darius Thomas


On Saturday night, the Frisco Fighters spoiled the Duke City Gladiators’ home opener by defeating them 60-33.

Duke City’s 21-point third quarter was not enough to rally a comeback at the Rio Rancho Events Center, as the Gladiators slipped to 0-2 in the young season.

Duke City’s defense dominated the first three plays of the game but a fourth-down touchdown pass by Frisco quarterback Blake Sims set the tone for the rest of the game.

After Frisco took an 18-0 lead in the early second, Duke City made a change at quarterback by putting in Caleb Holbrook for Ramone Atkins. However, Holbrook’s first two pass attempts resulted in interceptions, and one was returned for a touchdown.

Reigning IFL player of the year, and QB1 for Duke City, Nate Davis, did not play due to a knee injury.

By halftime, the Gladiators found themselves down 30 points.

A rejuvenated Duke City squad came out swinging in the third quarter, responding with three scores, including a TD pass to Gregory Dent Jr.

The potential comeback fell short, as Duke City finished the game throwing five interceptions, while Frisco receiver Jerminic Smith continued to find the red zone. Smith scored multiple touchdowns, and was a favorite target in the passing attack.

“We just got to come back with an attack mentality, and be ready to get better as a whole,” said Duke City defensive back Darius Thomas.

“Stay positive, keep building off those positives, and everything else will fix itself,” he added.

On April 2, Duke City will entertain the Arizona Rattlers, who beat them in their opener, 50-28, in the Valley of the Sun. Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Events Center.