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.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 witht0 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, withleft 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 withleft in the game. The Gladiators would score 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 withremaining.
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
Duke City;7;14;27;14;7 —69
A —James Langford 9 rush (Jacob Felton kick),
DC —Larry Cobb 4 pass from Donovan Porteri (Brian Weems kick),
A —Nate Davis 12 rush (Felton kick),
DC —Dewayne Davis 1 rush (Weems kick),
A —Kawaski Tenner 27 pass from Davis (Felton kick),
DC —Porteri 1 rush (Weems kick),
DC —Cobb 11 pass from Porteri (conversion failed),
DC —Antonio Bray 17 pass from Porteri (Weems kick),
A —Cedric Gilbert 13 pass from Davis (Felton kick),
DC —Julian Walker 32 pass from Porteri (Weems kick),
A —Langford 5 run (Felton kick),
DC —Bray 1 run (Weems kick),
A —Raymond Johnson 16 pass from Davis (Felton kick),
A —Alex Watson 25 pass from Davis (conversion failed),
DC —Bray 1 run (Weems kick),
A —Davis 5 run (Felton kick),
DC —Walker 14 pass from Porteri (Weems kick),
A —Davis 1 run (Felton kick)
DC —Walker 25 pass from Porteri (Weems kick)
A —Johnson 25 pass from Davis (Davis run)