Greg Dent pulls one in during a recent game at the Rio Rancho Events Center. (Matt Hollinshead/Observer)
The Gladiators are thanking their home base by offering tickets for as low as $5.05 for Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. kickoff
- Final game of the season: Saturday, 6:05 p.m.
- Rio Rancho Events Center
One second showing on the clock? Team trailing, 51-47?
No problem: Duke City Gladiators quarterback Ramone Atkins fired a 15-yard pass into Greg Dent’s hands in the end zone – despite double-coverage – and visiting Duke City left San Diego with a 53-51 victory Saturday night over the Strike Force.
The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Gladiators (7-8), although they also would have “backed in” because Las Vegas was whipped by six-time league champ Arizona, 49-31, in Phoenix Saturday evening.
The teams were knotted at 14 at the end of the first period. San Diego led 30-28 at halftime. Each team scored a TD and an extra point in the third quarter.
Trailing 51-47 after the Strike Force scored with 12 seconds to play, Atkins completed passes covering 12, 13 and then 9 yards – getting the ball to the 15 — on Duke City’s final possession. Each team took a timeout
With 1 second to go, Atkins connected with Dent in the end zone to end the thriller.
Atkins finished the game with 22 completions in 34 attempts, good for 232 yards and five TDs. He was also picked off twice. He carried the ball four times for another 25 yards and two TDs.
The Gladiators also beat San Diego in their first meeting, 54-49, in Rio Rancho on May 28.
Duke City plays host to second-place Northern Arizona (12-3) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in the Rio Rancho Events Center.
Northern Arizona (12-3) will finish the regular season in second place. The Wranglers defeated the Iowa Barnstormers 46-21 Saturday night in Prescott Valley, Ariz.
The Gladiators and Wranglers met in Prescott Valley on June 18, a 49-41 victory by Northern Arizona.
The Gladiators are thanking their home base by offering tickets for as low as $5.05 for Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. kickoff. They’re on sale at dukecitygladiators.com.
NOTES: On July 7, the Gladiators signed quarterback Javin Kilgo, who was a back-up for Duke City in 2018-19. He has played for the Sioux City Bandits in the Champions Indoor Football League this season.