Arizona downed the Gladiators Saturday. (Matt Hollinshead/The Observer)


A 24-3 outburst in the second quarter by the visiting Arizona Rattlers spelled doom for the Duke City Gladiators Saturday evening at the Rio Rancho Events Center.

Arizona (10-3), which beat the Gladiators (6-7) for the third time this season, had a 30-17 lead at halftime. The Gladiators dipped below the .500 mark while seeing their four-game winning streak end.

Duke City scored two of the game’s first three touchdowns, but that second period scoring binge put them behind to stay.

The stats show Arizona had twice as many passes attempted as the Gladiators (20-10), and the Rattlers had nearly twice as many rushing plays (23-12.

Duke City quarterback Ramone Atkins was 8 of 20 passing for 124 yards, with two TD passes and two interceptions. He also scored on a rushing TD.

Of four Duke City losses this season in which the Gladiators scored 38 or fewer points, three of those losses have been to Arizona.

Duke City faces the other Arizona team this week, traveling to Prescott Valley to meet the Northern Arizona Wranglers (10-2), the IFL’s Western Division leaders, who are on a seven-game winning streak. It’s the first meeting of the season between the Gladiators and Wranglers.

The Gladiators’ final home game, following a bye week the first weekend in July,  is on July 9 vs. San Diego Strike Force. The regular season ends July 16 at the Rio Rancho Events Center, where the Gladiators will have a chance to avenge their Saturday loss.