Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

May 22—The Duke City Gladiators return to action Saturday for the first time since July 2019 when they take on the Iowa Barnstormers in an Indoor Football League game in Des Moines.

The Gladiators are in their first season with the IFL after winning the Champions Indoor Football title in 2018 and 2019. Their 2020 season with the IFL was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, as were the schedules of the other indoor leagues.

The Gladiators were about to take the field for last year’s scheduled opener March 12 in Frisco, Texas, against the Fighters when arena officials asked them to leave the facility as the sports world commenced shutting down operations.

Nate Davis, a compensatory draft pick by NFL San Francisco 49ers in 2009, takes over at quarterback for the Gladiators under first-year coach Martino Theus. Davis, a longtime standout for the Amarillo Venom, was part of that team’s championship runs in the Lone Star Football League in 2012-13.

Two newcomers for Duke City who had strong camps are defensive back Ray Jones Jr. of the University of Delaware and wide receiver Greg Dent Jr. from Florida State, who is adapting to the indoor game.

The Gladiators, who embarked on an 11-hour bus ride Friday to Iowa, will be facing a Barnstormers team that opened its season last week with a 56-36 victory against the Sioux Falls Storm.

Duke City returns home May 30 at the Rio Rancho Events Center against the Tucson Sugar Skulls. Kickoff for that game is 3:05 p.m. All tickets, ranging in price from $10 to $50, are available on or Ticketmaster. No phone service is available for ticket purchase. Current allowed capacity is 3,200.

The first three games of the Gladiators’ seven-game home schedule will be played at the Events Center. The team said if its usual home, Tingley Coliseum, becomes available, it will return there for its remaining games. State-run Tingley has been a center for vaccinations during the pandemic.