The Dukes well known problems of defending the run emerged yet again in their final and maybe the most important game of the spring, against the CNC Gladiators. Looking at some of the rushers that exploited that team, like Andre Bynoe, or Brandon McDowell or Peter Cseperkalo, you’d expect another big strong player that played a key role for the Austrian team. Yet, the best player on the rain and lightning filled day for the Gladiators t was a little man standing at 170 centimeters and weighing 75 kilograms, and that might be a generous official measurement.

The little man, Chris Carter, played a big game, rushing for three touchdowns that helped his team maintain a lead for almost the entire game. And though it was Peter Hailiman’s pass to his brother David that won the game for the Gladiators, when their hard work fell apart, even on the final drive, Carter was one of the most important players. The Gladiators won 21-26.

He ran for a touchdown in each of the first three quarters. His 2 yard and 38 yard scoring runs gave the Gladiators a 0-14 halftime lead. When Jovan Plećas scored on a 2 yard run in the third quarter, Carter and the Gladiators answered with a 50 yard run for a 6-20 lead.

Gladiators ohne Kamber, Houtz und Leever
The Gladiators were not only depleted, but for a rare occasion without quarterback Bernhard Kamber. The bigger loss was the absence of Manuel Houtz, who handles the kicking duties, as they converted just one out of four two-point attempts.

The Dukes came storming back in the fourth quarter — though their offense couldn’t get going with receiver Jovan Plećas running the show, because the Dukes also missed not one, but both of their quarterbacks, they came back and even took a lead. After some controversy, when Marko Danic’s touchdown was ruled out because of a whistle by an official that was blown too soon, Plećaš scored again. Soon, Carter’s pass attempt on a trick play was intercepted, and the Dukes took almost a shocking lead on a run by Boris Kuzmanović.

Ohne Kicker kein Fieldgoal
After losing a lead that was good for over three quarters, the Gladiators had two minutes to erase a one point deficit, but without a kicker, they went for it all on fourth down at the Dukes 29 yard line with less than 30 seconds to go. David Hailiman caught his brother’s pass and gave his team a huge win.

‚Our game plan was to come out and straight run the ball. Joe [Widner] told us, come out, pound the ball, we can run on them, and that’s what we did”, said the Gladiators‘ Chris Carter. ‚We fought hard; we had some difficult calls against us, but we played hard and we played through the game and we played tremendous, tremendous offense throughout the day.”

May 30th 09 | 2pm
FK Kabel | Novi Sad
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