By Matt Watkins

For Amarillo Globe-News

The defending Champions Indoor Football League South Division champion Amarillo Venom got off to a good start to 2017 with a 70-69 overtime win against Duke City in Tingley Coliseum in Alburquerque, N.M. on Saturday night.

Both teams struggled early with a nine-yard run by James Langford being the only scoring for Amarillo in the first. The Gladiators would answer with a four-yard pass from Donovan Porteri to Larry Cobb for a 7-7 tie after the first.

The second quarter would consist of each team trading scores, with Venom quarterback Nate Davis rushing for a touchdown, which was answered by a Dewayne Davis one-yard rushing score shortly after. Davis would put Amarillo ahead once again with a 27-yard touchdown toss to Kiwaski Tenner with 55 seconds left in the half to make it 21-14.

However, Duke City would respond again by driving the length of the field, capped by a one-yard score by Porteri with 10 seconds remaining. Venom kicker Jacob Felton would miss a 22-yard field goal attempt as the first half came to a close, making it a 21-21 game at the break.

The Gladiators would come out hot in the third when Porteri hit Cobb again for an 11-yard touchdown to give Duke City its first lead, 27-21 after a missed point after. After the Gladiator defense came up with a big stop, Antonio Bray would catch a 17-yard scoring pass from Porteri to extend Duke City’s advantage to 34-21 with 8:39 t0 play in the third.

The Venom would get back on the board on the ensuing drive on a 13-yard touchdown from Davis to Cedric Gilbert to cut the deficit back to six, 34-28, with 5:14 left in the quarter. Porteri would again answer for the Gladiators with a 32-yard strike to Julian Walker to go back up, 41-28.

Langford would add a five yard run for Amarillo to make it 41-35, before Bray capped a long drive for Duke City with a one-yard score to make the lead 48-35. The Venom would keep it close heading to the fourth however, as Davis would find Raymond Johnson on a 16-yard score that made it 48-42 after three quarters.

Amarillo would strike first again in the fourth, after a clutch interception by Donnie Duncan, with a 25 yard pass from Davis to Alex Watson, but the missed put after left tied 48-48 with 12:29 left in the game. The Gladiators would score 1:02 later on a one-yard run by Bray that got their lead back up to 55-48.

The Venom, however, would fight back and score again on a five yard keeper by Davis after a tough drive that once again tied the score at 57-all. Duke City would come right back and regain the lead, 62-57, on a Porteri 14-yard pass to Walker with 2:15 remaining.

Davis would keep Amarillo alive with 27 seconds left, he rushed in from one yard out to tie the game 62-62 and take it to overtime, where after Porteri and Davis traded 25-yard touchdowns, a one-yard two-point conversion run by Davis would clinch the win for the Venom.

Davis finished 24-38 passing for Amarillo, with 201 yards and five touchdowns through the air, he also rushed for three more. Johnson also had a big night, catching 11 passes for 130 yards and two scores.

Amarillo 70, Duke City 69

Amarillo;7;14;21;20;8 —70

Duke City;7;14;27;14;7 —69

First Quarter

A —James Langford 9 rush (Jacob Felton kick), 5:30

DC —Larry Cobb 4 pass from Donovan Porteri (Brian Weems kick), 1:11

Second Quarter

A —Nate Davis 12 rush (Felton kick), 5:19

DC —Dewayne Davis 1 rush (Weems kick), 3:37

A —Kawaski Tenner 27 pass from Davis (Felton kick), 0:55

DC —Porteri 1 rush (Weems kick), 0:10

Third Quarter

DC —Cobb 11 pass from Porteri (conversion failed), 14:13

DC —Antonio Bray 17 pass from Porteri (Weems kick), 8:39

A —Cedric Gilbert 13 pass from Davis (Felton kick), 5:14

DC —Julian Walker 32 pass from Porteri (Weems kick), 4:41

A —Langford 5 run (Felton kick), 3:56

DC —Bray 1 run (Weems kick), 1:58

A —Raymond Johnson 16 pass from Davis (Felton kick), 0:00

Fourth Quarter

A —Alex Watson 25 pass from Davis (conversion failed), 12:29

DC —Bray 1 run (Weems kick), 11:27

A —Davis 5 run (Felton kick), 5:05

DC —Walker 14 pass from Porteri (Weems kick), 2:15

A —Davis 1 run (Felton kick) 0:27

Overtime

DC —Walker 25 pass from Porteri (Weems kick)

A —Johnson 25 pass from Davis (Davis run)

Amarillo;Duke City

First Downs

20;22

Passing Yards

201;333

Rushing Yards

115;32

Total Yards

316;365

Passing Attempts-Completions-Interceptions

38-24-2;39-21-1

Penalties-Yards

8-56;6-65

Fumbles-Fumbles Lost

1-0;1-1