The Dodge City Law had one of their best first halves of the season Saturday night and then had to withstand a frantic second half to hold on for a 47-43 victory over the Duke City Gladiators at Tingley Coliseum.
The win puts the Law in sole first place at the midway point of the Champions Indoor Football league with a 5-1 recor, a game ahead of Texas, Salina and Wichita. Texas beat Wichita 48-21 in another Saturday night game, while Salina had a bye week.
But it wasn't an easy ending after a great start as the Law built a 20-point halftime lead almost evaporate twice in the final two minutes of the game, partially due to an uncharacteristic four turnovers after intermission.
Although the Law was 30 yards below its season average, the running game again was the difference despite losing three fumbles as the Gladiators were able to take the ball away from Dodge City on four drives after intermission.
Dominique Carson ran for 44 yards and three touchdowns; and KingJack Washington 27 and two scores. Quarterback Joshua Floyd was 8-of-14 for 110 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Law defense played well for the game, giving up only one touchdown in the first half and keeping the Gladiators from taking a lead in the fourth quarter as they made their rally. Dodge City sacked Duke City quarterback Casey Peters seven times and intercepted a pass.
Duke City gained 242 total yards, but officially had no yards on 20 carries in the loss. Peters was 20-of-43 passing with three touchdown passes and an interception for the Gladiators (1-2).
The Law opened up the game with a drive that lasted more than six minutes and finished with a Washington touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Duke City had a chance to answer with a touchdown later in the stanza after the Law couldn't move the ball after an interception by Cashmin Thomas, but had to settle for a field goal from Arevalo.
Carson scored the first of his rushing touchdowns right at the end of the first quarter from two yards away to put Dodge City ahead 13-3.
The Gladiators scored their only touchdown before halftime on a two-yard run by Brody; but Carson answered with two more touchdowns from a yard and from 26 yards out to push the Law ahead 27-10. A late field goal by Duke City was answered by an 11-yard pass from Floyd to Dello Davis for a 33-13 lead going into halftime.
Duke City scored on its first drive of the second half when Peters hit Roland Bruno for an eight-yard pass to cut the margin to 33-19; then the turnover bug started to hit the Law.
A fumble by Washington ended up going nowhere after four plays; but the Gladiators were able to take advantage of Jayson Serda's interception of Floyd for a six-yard score from Peters to James Cleveland to cut the margin to 33-26 with 1:58 left in the third quarter.
Duke City was able to force a fumble by Carson, but was only able to get come away with their third field goal to cut the margin to 33-29.
Carson and Washington combined quickly to push the Law's lead back up to double digits. Carson returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Duke City 10, and it took one play for Washington to score and increase the margin to 40-29 with 8:05 left.
The Law had a good chance to seal the game with less than three minutes on the clock, but Carson's fumble gave the Gladiators some hope. Duke City responded with Emanuel McPhearson crossing the goal line from two yards away to cut the deficit to 40-35 with 54 seconds on the clock.
The Gladiators tried an onside kick, but Jercorey Quarterman not only recovered the kick, he scampered eight yards to push the lead back up to 47-35 in four seconds.
Duke City got one more score when Peters connected with Cleveland for a final touchdown, but Brandon Venson recovered a second on-side kick to seal the win.
The Law returns home to United Wireless Arena and will face the Omaha Beef (1-5). Omaha beat Sioux City 43-41 on the last play to pick up its first win of the season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.
— — —
LAW 47, GLADIATORS 43
Dodge City   13  20    0  14 — 47
Duke City        3  10  13  17 — 43
DO — Washington 1 run (pass failed)
DU — FG Arevalo 19
DO — Carson 2 run (Fambrough kick)
DU — Brody 2 run (Arevalo kick)
DO — Carson 1 run (run failed)
DO — Carson 26 run (Davis pass from Floyd)
DU — FG Arevalo 34
DO — Davis 11 pass from Floyd (kick failed)
DU — Bruno 11 pass from Peters (kick failed)
DU — Cleveland 6 pass from Peters (Arevalo kick)
DU — FG Arevalo 34
DO — Washington 10 run (Fambrough kick)
DU — McPhearson 2 run (pass failed)
DO — Quarterman 8 kickoff return (Fambrough kick)
DU — Cleveland 9 pass from Peters (Cleveland pass from Peters)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING — Dodge City, Carson 10-44, Washington 7-27, Floyd 5-3; Duke City McPhearson 7-13, Stewart 1-3, Brody 1-2, Perez 1-(minus 2), Peters 10-(minus 16).
PASSING — Dodge City, Floyd 8-14-1-110; Duke City, Peters 20-43-1-242.
RECEIVING — Dodge City, Davis 2-19, Carson 2-13, Sterling 1-33, Washington 1-28, Quarterman 1-12, Venson 1-5; Duke City, Bruno 8-114, Cleveland 8-105, Manley 2-0, McPhearson 2-3.
— — —
CIF STANDINGS
Dodge City    5-1
Salina        4-2
Texas        4-2
Wichita    4-2
Amarillo    3-2
Sioux City    2-3
Duke City    1-2
Omaha    1-5
San Angelo    0-5
Last weekend's scores
Dodge City 47, Duke City 43
Texas 48, Wichita 21
Amarillo 62, San Angelo 40
Omaha 43, Sioux City 41
This weekend's schedule
Saturday
Omaha at Dodge City, 7:05 p.m.
Amarillo at Duke City, 6:05 p.m.
Salina at Sioux City, 7:05 p.m.
Texas at San Angelo, 7:05 p.m.