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Bellaire native starting new chapter of his indoor football career in Albuquerque

BELLAIRE — After seven-and-a-half years of leading the Amarillo Venom in several indoor football leagues, Nate Davis is on the move. The former Bellaire High School and Ball State University strong-armed quarterback will play for the Duke City Gladiators in the Indoor Football league.

Duke City, which is based in Albuquerque, N.M., is also new to the IFL as it left the the Champions Indoor Football League after last season as the two-time defending champions. The Gladiators were founded in 2015 and play their home games inside the 9,286-seat Tingley Coliseum.

“I’m very excited for my new journey with the Duke City Gladiators. We’re in the IFL and we will travel to places like San Diego, Oakland and Green Bay,” the 32-year-old Davis said earlier in the week while home visiting family and friends for the holidays. “It’s a new start for me. A new team. A new league. I’m just ready to go play.

“It was time for me to move on.”

In addition to Duke City, other teams in the IFL include the Arizona Rattlers, Bismarck (ND) Bucks, Cedar Rapids River Kings, Frisco Fighters, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, Oakland Panthers, Quad City Steamwheelers, San Diego Strike Force, Sioux Falls (SD) Storm, Spokane Shock, and the Tucson Sugar Skulls.

Sioux Falls defeated Arizona 56-53, in the 2019 United Bowl in front of 14,635 fans at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Az.The Storm is the only franchise still around since the IFL’s inception in 2009. They have won seven titles.

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of the Duke City Gladiators to the IFL,” stated IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse in a press release. “The Gladiators bring a strong winning tradition to the IFL while solidifying our geographic footprint. We look forward to the intense southwestern rivalries the Gladiators will bring to the IFL and to a long and productive partnership with the team and city.”

During the last five years in 66 games with the Venom, Davis threw for an astounding 14,218 yards on 1,241-for-2,137 (58.1%), a whopping 306 touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 155.5. Not bad on a 50-yard field. He also ran the ball 350 times for 906 yards and 78 more six-pointers.

The 2018-19 season was his best as he completed 63.9 percent (292-457) of his passes for 3,238 yards and 73 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions. His QB rating was 170.4 and he also had 11 rushing TDs. All of those numbers added up to him being voted the not only the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, but also the league MVP.

“I had plenty of chances over the years to leave Amarillo, but I didn’t,” he noted. “It was time for me to explore my options, and that’s what I did.

“We are putting a team together that we have a lot of confidence in. I feel with the guys we have, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Pig Brown is the head coach of the Gladiators and he’s been on the other sideline watching Davis ply his trade.

“He’s been watching me play for years and we’ve talked about this, playing together, so now the time has come,” Davis added. “We’re getting on the same page.”

Davis said he has been contacted by the West Virginia Roughriders on several occasions, but doesn’t think that will ever materialize.

“I’ve never thought about coming back here to play,” he stressed.

Duke City opens the season with three straight road games, beginning on March 12 at Frisco. The Gladiators make their home debut on April 4 when San Diego visits.

The IFL will grow by at least one team in 2021 as Columbus, OH., will join the league. It will be coached by former Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Bobby Olive, Jr.

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