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Gladiators’ new coach has been busy

Duke City Gladiators head coach Cornelius “Pig” Brown hit the ground running after being hired as head coach of the Indoor Football League team in mid-September. He hasn’t stopped to catch his breath since.

“Really and truly, I’ve taken no days off — zero,” he said by phone earlier this week. “I’ve been constantly recruiting, working. To be honest my phone was always on because of the recruiting aspect of things but anywhere near six to 10 hours a day.”

Now Brown heads into the REALLY busy portion of his schedule.

He and his staff will conduct player tryout sessions at 9 a.m Friday and Saturday at Tingley Coliseum, and on Tuesday the team will open camp in preparation for the season opener March 12 on the road against the first-year Frisco (Texas) Fighters.

“We’re looking for guys who fit in with what we’re trying to do,” Brown said. He emphasized Gladiators players need to be, No. 1, enthusiastic; No. 2, know their assignments; No. 3, be competitive; and No. 4, be tough and physical and giving 100 percent.”

The first four days of practice will take place at Tingley, the team’s in-season home, with the remainder outdoors at Highland High School. Drills will last 90 minutes to two hours, he said.

The Gladiators won the 2018 and 2019 championships in Champions Indoor Football before switching to the IFL, which has expanded westward the past several years, with two teams in Arizona and one in San Diego and in Oakland. One also is in Spokane, Washington.

Among the top players returning to the Gladiators this season are QB Nate Davis, WR Dello Davis and LB Jayson Serda, a veteran who played at Manzano and Eastern New Mexico.

HOME OPENER: The Gladiators will play the first of seven home games at Tingley on April 4 at 6:05 p.m. against the San Diego Strike Force.

NEW RULE: The IFL has adopted a scoring play called “The Deuce” for the final 60 seconds of each half.

When a team is kicking off during this window it can score two points if the ball is booted through the uprights. Thus, a team trailing by 10 points inside the final minutes can quickly tie the game with a TD, 2-point conversion and an ensuing “deuce.”

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