The Duke City Gladiators got just the right send-off Saturday night at Tingley Coliseum as they prepare to embark on a four-game Champions Indoor Football trip.
Dello Davis scored five touchdowns, including four on TD passes from Donovan Porterie, and the defense supplied a score on a 26-yard interception return by Fred Griggs in a 72-6 win over the Oklahoma Flying Aces (0-3).
The 66-point margin of victory was the greatest in the five-year history of the Gladiators (3-0), exceeding a 75-14 win over the Centex Cavalry two seasons ago.
The announced crowd of 4,500 also saw the team earn its ninth win in a row, which includes the team’s three-game run through the 2018 CIF postseason.
The Gladiators have outscored their first three foes by an average of 52.7 points. In Games 1 and 2 they beat Wichita 76-24 and Amarillo 70-30. No other team has won a league game by more than 23 points this season.
“We work hard; that’s what I’ll admit to,” fifth-year Gladiators coach Dominic Bramante said after the game, not acknowledging his team has looked like a steamroller this season. “We’ve now got a huge mountain to climb next week when we play the Texas Revolution (2-0) in Frisco.”
The Gladiators and Revolution are the eight-team league’s only unbeaten squads.
Duke City took control midway in the first quarter against the Aces thanks to a dizzying sequence of scoring plays. Three were thanks to special teams.
After taking a 7-0 lead on a Davis 17-yard reception from Porterie, the Gladiators scored a rouge on their kickoff when Oklahoma could not advance the ball out of its end zone. It was 8-0.
Then, after the Flying Aces took possession at their 5 and failed to advance, they kicked from their end zone on fourth down. The boot was blocked and resulted in a safety. That made it 10-0.
On Oklahoma’s ensuing kickoff, Davis dropped the ball at the goal line, scooped it up and weaved his way to a 50-yard TD for a 17-0 lead.
The rout was on.
“You know, Oklahoma is a work in progress, but no, I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Bramante said of the rapid-fire scoring.
Coming out of halftime, if the Flying Aces had any realistic hopes of making a comeback from a 44-6 hole, they surely needed a TD on their first possession.
That didn’t happen, though, with their drive stalling when a fourth-down running play was stuffed inside the Duke City 5. From that point on, it appeared the Aces had exhausted what was left of their adrenaline reserves.
Oklahoma’s sole score came in the second quarter on a 4-yard run around left end by quarterback Josh Floyd, who played for the New Mexico Stars in 2012-13.
“They were very disciplined and they’re coached very well, and showed why they won a title last year.” he said of Duke City. “We’re still young, but once we get more playing experience we’ll be OK.”
Although Floyd was sacked only once, he was under duress much of the game, completing seven of 24 throws for 46 yards.
Also contributing to the Gladiators’ scoring outburst was running back Romello Brown, who had two rushing TDs. Darryl Stonum and Sedrick Johnson also caught TD passes from Porterie, who had six in the game.
THE ROAD TRIP: After the Gladiators face Texas next week, they’ll play at Amarillo and then back-to-back rides to Kansas to face the Salina Liberty and Wichita Force.
GONE: Duke City was without receiver Dee Washington on Saturday. He was suspended for the rest of the season after his role in a skirmish in the Gladiators’ win over Amarillo on March 30.
NEXT HOME GAME: May 25 vs. Texas Revolution, 6:05 p.m.
GLADIATOR 72, FLYING ACES 6
Oklahoma 0 6 0 0— 6
Duke City 17 27 7 21—72
Leading passers: O, Josh Floyd 7-for-24, 46 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; DC, Donovan Porterie 21-for-30, 210 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT.
Leading rushers: O, Lawrence Jordan 9-for-13; DC, Romello Brown, 7-for-25, 2 TDs.
Leading receivers: O, Jordan Payne 3-for-17; DC, Dello Davis 7-for-85, 4 TDs.
Leading defenders: O, Ivan King, 6 tackles (5 solo); DC, Jayson Serda, 15 tackles (11 solo).