In Des Moines, Iowa, the Duke City Gladiators scored a game-tying touchdown as time expired, added the decisive extra point and defeated the Iowa Barnstormers, 34-33 Saturday night in a first-round Indoor Football League playoff game.
The fifth-seeded Gladiators, as the lowest remaining seed, will travel to Phoenix next Sunday in the semifinal round to face the top-seeded Arizona Rattlers, who beat the Sioux Falls Storm 69-42 in their first-round game.
The Rattlers beat the Gladiators 51-36 on June 19 in Rio Rancho and 60-48 on July 31 in Phoenix.
Duke City led Saturday’s see-saw contest 27-26 after three quarters, but Iowa went ahead 33-27 on a 28-yard Daquan Neal-to-Kentrez Bell pass with 10:23 left in the game.
After Iowa failed to convert a pass interception into points, missing a field goal, the Gladiators got the winning score from the Barnstormers 1-yard line. On a flanker-around pass, wide receiver Dello Davis hit fellow WR Jared Elmore for the tying TD.
The Gladiators incurred an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play, forcing kicker Kevin Goessling to attempt the crucial PAT from 33 yards out. But his kick was true, giving Duke City the victory.
Gladiators quarterback Nate Davis ran for a touchdown and hit wide receiver Dello Davis for a score in the first half. Running back Raymond Taylor had a 7-yard TD run in the second quarter and scored from the same distance in the third.
The Rattlers went 12-2 during the regular season and have won six games in a row.