The Tucson Sugar Skulls lost to Duke City 57-52 on Saturday in Albuquerque in a last-minute thriller.
At the close of a seesaw second half, Tucson Kicker Logan Justus kicked a 58-yard field goal to give the Sugar Skulls a 52-49 lead with 1:00 minute remaining in the game. On the next possession, Duke City quarterback Ramone Atkins found wide receiver Jared Elmore for a 4-yard touchdown pass, and after a missed PAT, the Gladiators were up 55-52 with 11 seconds on the clock.
Tucson would have a shot to tie the game with four seconds remaining from its own 10-yard line, but an errant snap went over Justus’ head and out of the end zone for a safety as time expired, giving Duke City a 57-52 victory.
A slow start for the Sugar Skulls proved to be costly.
On the second play of the game, Duke City quarterback Ramone Atkins found wide receiver Darryl Stonum for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Duke City then recovered an onside kick, and wide receiver Dello Davis would haul in a pass to put the Gladiators up 14-0 with 12:01 remaining in the first quarter.
The Sugar Skulls would close the gap to 28-21 by halftime.
On the first possession of the third quarter, Sugar Skulls quarterback Daquan Neal found wide receiver Arthur Jackson for 17-yard touchdown pass to close the gap further at 28-27. After the Sugar Skulls blocked a field goal on the Gladiators’ next drive, Neal would score a 5-yard rushing touchdown to give Tucson its first lead at 34-28 with 4:35 remaining in the quarter.
The Tucson Sugar Skulls (1-3) play the Northern Arizona Wranglers (3-1) on Saturday at Tucson Arena. Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.