Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Strike Force rallies late to defeat Duke City in Season Opener

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The San Diego Strike Force (1-0) opened their season with a thrilling 32-26 victory over the Duke City Gladiators (0-1) on Monday night, thanks to a touchdown and a clutch interception in the final seconds.

Trevon Van's three touchdowns in the last 7:33, including the game-winner with just 13 seconds left, led the Strike Force to victory. His decisive one-yard plunge capped a four-play, 47-yard drive, sealing an incredible fourth-quarter comeback.

The Gladiators had taken a 26-25 lead with under a minute to play, but Van's quick response dashed their hopes. Despite finishing with only 24 yards on nine carries, his three short TD runs proved crucial. Quarterback Nate Davis contributed 173 yards, a touchdown, and an interception on 17-of-33 passing.

San Diego's defense also shined, with Kishawn Walker grabbing two of the team's three interceptions, including the game-clinching pick on Duke City's final drive.

The game saw a wild fourth quarter, with the Strike Force initially taking a 19-17 lead on Chance Bell's three-yard score, only for Tamar Hart to return the ensuing PAT 98 yards for a defensive two-point conversion, tying the game.

Duke City had taken an early 7-0 lead, but San Diego responded to go up 13-7 on Van's four-yard score and Davis' seven-yard strike to Randal Grimes. The Gladiators reclaimed the lead 17-13 at halftime on Ernesto Lacayo's 44-yard field goal.

After a scoreless third quarter, both teams exploded offensively in the fourth, trading blows until Van's heroics secured the dramatic season-opening win for San Diego.

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