Duke City Gladiators

The Duke City Gladiators are a professional indoor football team based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They began play in March 2015 as members of the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league. The Gladiators play their home games at Tingley Coliseum.[2][3] After winning back-to-back CIF championships in 2018 and 2019, the Gladiators left the CIF for the Indoor Football League (IFL) in the 2020 season.

Duke City Gladiators
Established 2015
Play in Tingley Coliseum
in Albuquerque, New Mexico
League/conference affiliations
Team colorsSilver, black, white
Owner(s)Gina Prieskorn-Thomas[1]
Head coachPig Brown
Team history
  • Duke City Gladiators (2015–present)
League championships (2)
  • 2018, 2019
Conference championships (2)
  • 2018, 2019
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (3)
Home arena(s)


The team was formed in February 2015 by an ownership group called Duke City Sports Entertainment Group, Inc. a New Mexico corporation consisting of several investors, which also included Gladiators founder and general manager Matt Caward, along with co-founder and head coach Dominic Bramante, and director of media relations Andres Trujillo.[4][5][6][7] The Gladiators joined Champions Indoor Football (CIF) in the league's inaugural season after the Rio Rancho-based New Mexico Stars cancelled their entry into the league shortly before the season began.[8][9][10] (In April 2015, the Stars announced that they would instead join the North American Indoor Football for 2016.)[11] The Gladiators had originally looked to join the X-League Indoor Football but geographical and financial considerations as well as the sudden availability of the CIF franchise slot led the team to change directions.[12][13]

In 2015, the Gladiators played an abbreviated 11-game CIF schedule in 2015, as a direct replacement for the New Mexico Stars, but with some modifications and non-league games because of prior scheduling maneuvers and arena availability.[13][14][10] The team opened training camp on March 15.[15] Their first indoor practice session was March 24.[3] Regular season promotions included Hispanic Heritage Night on March 28 and Public Service Day on April 26.[16]

The Gladiators won the 2018 CIF championship. In February 2019, it was announced the Gladiators had been sold to Gina Prieskorn-Thomas, one of the former co-owners of the Gladiators.[1] The team then won its second CIF championship. After the season, the CIF granted the Gladiators petition to be released them from their commitment to play the 2020 season.[17] The team joined the Indoor Football League on August 20, 2019.[18] Head coach Dominic Bramante, who had been with the team since its inaugural season, was not retained during the offseason after his contract had ended.[19] The Gladiators then hired Pig Brown as head coach from the Nebraska Danger.[20]


Duke City Gladiators roster
  • 12 Caleb Holbrook

Running backs

  • 30 Jestin Kelly
  • 00 Juwan Lewis

Wide receivers

  •  3 Antonio Bray
  •  0 Dello Davis
  •  2 Ricardo Johnson
  • 88 Sedric Johnson
  • 13 Dexter Manley
  • 16 William Martin
  •  4 Warren Oliver
Offensive linemen
  • 60 Sherman Carter
  • 56 Terrale Johnson
  • 54 Oliver Lumpkin

Defensive linemen

  • 11 Brent Bowers
  • 34 Noah Brown
  • 99 Matt Moss
  • 90 Christopher Smalls
  • 10 Fatu Ulale
  • Currently vacant

Defensive backs

  •  1 Donnie Duncan
  • 21 Dontrell Johnson
  • 22 Ibrahim Maiga
  •  5 Paul Robinson
  • 28 Jayson Serda
  •  9 Michael Singleton

Special teams

  •  7 James Naehu
Reserve lists
  • -- Desmond Anaya DL (Did Not Report)
  • -- Sterling Dubose WR (Susp.)
  • -- Desmond Howard OL (IR)
  • -- Julian Lewis DB (Did Not Report)
  • -- Wondell Rutledge OL (Susp.)
  • -- Gabriel Sherrod DL (Did Not Report)
  • -- Jack Tomlinson DB (Susp.)
  • -- Darrain Winston DB (Did Not Report)

Roster updated April 25, 2018
25 Active, 8 Inactive

More rosters

Season-by-season results

League Champions Conference Champions Division Champions Playoff berth League leader
Season Team League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results
2015 2015CIF 5th740
2016 2016CIFSouthern 4th660
2017 2017CIFSouth 4th750Lost Conference Semifinal (Amarillo) 41–70
2018 2018CIFSouth 1st1020Won Conference Semifinal (Wichita) 44–39
Won Conference Championship (Texas) 41–28
Won Champions Bowl (Sioux City) 31–27
2019 2019CIFSouth 1st930Won Conference Championship (Amarillo) 70–62
Won Champions Bowl (Salina) 35–29
Totals 39200All-time regular season record (2015–2019)
51All-time postseason record (2015–2019)
44210All-time regular season and postseason record (2015–2019)


  1. "Professional Arena Football Team, Under New Ownership, Prepares to Bring Championship Trophy Back to Albuquerque". Duke City Gladiators. February 6, 2019.
  2. Christ, Bob (February 23, 2015). "Gladiators plan to call Tingley home in maiden season". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  3. Christ, Bob (March 26, 2015). "Tingley getting ready for Gladiators' home debut". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  4. "Duke City Gladiators Professional Indoor Football presents to Albuquerque, NM, entrepreneurs | 1MillionCups.com". 1MillionCups.com. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  5. "This is Albuquerque: Duke City Gladiators". alibi. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  6. "Duke City Gladiators Professional Indoor Football". www.newmexico.org. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  7. Christ, Bob (February 25, 2015). "Owner of Gladiators made things happen in a hurry". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  8. Christ, Bob (February 22, 2015). "NM Stars owners pull plug on season". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  9. Jones, Darlene (February 22, 2015). "New Mexico Stars will not play the CIF 2015 season". Champions Indoor Football. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  10. Christ, Bob (May 23, 2015). "Arena of the absurd: Local indoor football has had funny bounces". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  11. Christ, Bob (April 18, 2015). "Stars announce plans to play in upstart indoor league in 2016". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  12. Herron, Gary (February 25, 2015). "New football team comes to Albuquerque". Rio Rancho Observer. Rio Rancho, NM: RR Community Publishing LLC. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  13. Christ, Bob (March 3, 2015). "Gladiators will compete in Champions League". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, NM. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  14. "CIF Enjoys Relief and Balance with Replacement Team in New Mexico". Champions Indoor Football. March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2015 via Our Sports Central.
  15. Walker, Amy (March 19, 2015). "Duke City Gladiators begin spring training". Albuquerque, NM: KRQE-TV. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  16. Tate, Van (March 25, 2015). "Gladiators ready for home opener". Albuquerque, NM: KRQE-TV. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  17. "Duke City Gladiators Leaving the CIF". OurSports Central. July 25, 2019.
  18. "Duke City Gladiators Join IFL". Indoor Football League. August 20, 2019.
  19. "Bramante will not return as Gladiators head coach". Albuquerque Journal. September 4, 2019.
  20. "Duke City Gladiators select new head coach". KRQE. September 11, 2019.
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