The Duke City Gladiators (7-3) completed their series sweep of the Flying Aces (2-8) by defeating Oklahoma 77-43 Saturday night at the Stride Bank Center.
It’s the fifth time this season in which Duke City scored at least 70 points.
The Flying Aces trailed by as little as seven points during the home contest and rallied to cut Duke City’s lead to under 14 points three times.
The first rally came on Oklahoma’s first drive when Ray John Ramsey hit Torrance Carr for a 17-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, 7-7.
Oklahoma next came charging back in the last eight minutes of the first half. Ramsey hit receiver Josh Stewart on a crossing route for a 25-yard reception. A personal foul call on Duke City set up a two-yard touchdown rush by Corey Avery to make it 35-17.
On the ensuing Duke City drive, Flying Aces defensive end A.J. Washington stripped Duke City quarterback Robert Kent inside the Gladiator 10-yard line. Washington then pounced on the fumble in the end-zone for the Oklahoma score, cutting the Duke City lead to 11 points.
Duke City’s Romello Brown, however, interrupted the Oklahoma rally with a rushing touchdown and made it a 42-24 game.
After halftime, the Flying Aces trailed by 22 points before the Oklahoma special teams unit blocked a field goal attempt midway through the third quarter and regained possession. After an Oklahoma field goal, the Flying Aces put up a goal line stand and stopped Duke City on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to keep it a 19-point game with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Ramsey hit Laquvionte Gonzalez for a 45-yard touchdown pass to cut Duke City’s lead to 12 points for a 49-37 game.
Duke City, however, broke away each time Oklahoma cut its lead to less than two touchdowns. After the third rally, the Gladiator offense drove the ball down to the four-yard line before Kent completed a touchdown pass to extend its lead by 19 points.
All three of the Gladiators’ phases kept Oklahoma in a deficit.
The Gladiator defense outscored the Flying Aces offense 21-10 after the first 17 minutes of the game. The Duke City defense also stripped Ramsey on a drop-back pass and returned the fumble 20 yards for a touchdown.
The Gladiators picked off Ramsey twice in the first half and returned the second interception 13 yards for a pick-six. Duke City’s defense also forced a turnover-on-downs at the start of the third quarter during a goal-line stand.
Duke City’s special teams unit blocked three Brett Mathis field goal attempts. Midway through the second quarter, Mathis attempted a field goal from inside Oklahoma’s 10-yard line which would have made it an eight-point game. But Duke City swatted his kick down and a nearby Gladiator corralled the bouncing ball and returned it for a touchdown. The score expanded Duke City’s lead by 18 points.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Mathis’ 25-yard attempt was blocked and set up another Kent touchdown pass to bring Duke City’s lead to 26 points.
Duke City took a 42-27 lead into halftime. Oklahoma got the ball back to start the second half looking to regain momentum, but Duke City picked off Ramsey on the second play of the Flying Aces’ drive. Then, Kent threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to make it 49-27.
Ramsey finished his night with three touchdown passes and four interceptions. Ramsey’s third touchdown came in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. He hit Carr with a 13-yard back-corner shot to cut the lead to 20 points.