The last team the Duke City Gladiators (8-9) defeated this season, the Northern Arizona Wranglers, is headed to the league’s big game.

Duke City beat the Wranglers 39-32 in the Rio Rancho Events Center on July 16, but then lost the next week in the first round of the conference playoffs to the Arizona Rattlers, 53-14.

Wouldn’t you know it? The Wranglers then headed south to Phoenix and beat the first-place Rattlers in the conference championship game.

In both of the IFL’s conference championship games, the winning teams showed last weekend there was no home-field advantage.

  • The six-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers fell in a heartbreaker, 52-51, to visiting Northern Arizona on July 30 in the IFL Western Conference championship game in what was supposed to be a matchup of the league’s two best defenses.

With the game tied at 45, an Arizona TD gave it the lead, but the Rattlers were called for holding on the extra-point attempt, and their kicker was run into. In fact, he was hurt to the extent that the Rattlers were for a two-point attempt, but failed to convert.

Despite a holding penalty, Northern Arizona was able to take its first lead of the game with 45.1 seconds left, and the Wranglers booted what turned out to be the game-winning PAT.

  • The Quad City Steamwheelers traveled to Texas July 29 to face the Frisco Fighters in the Eastern Conference’s showdown and, once again, a late TD decided which team would play for all the IFL marbles.

IFL MVP candidate E.J. Hilliard launched a bomb that was caught by Keyvan Rudd for what became the game-winning touchdown, just before Frisco QB T.J. Edwards launched a bomb deep into the end zone on the following drive, but it fell just short, ending an absolute thriller in Texas.

The IFL championship game – Northern Arizona (14-4) vs. Quad City (11-7) — will take place Aug. 13 at The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nev. To learn more, go to

Two Gladiators named all-stars

Wide receivers Jered Elmore and Greg Dent Jr. were named to the IFL’s postseason all-star second team.

Elmore ended the year fourth in total receptions (66), fourth in total receiving yards (789), and fourth in touchdowns (20).

Dent finished the season with 49 catches, 629 yards and 15 TDs.