ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Liberty came up just short in their attempt to bring a championship back to Salina.

Playing in Champions Bowl V, the title game of Champions Indoor Football, the Liberty fell 3 yards short of a potential game-tying score on the last play of the game, falling to the Duke City Gladiators 35-29 on Saturday night at Tingley Coliseum.

The victory gives Duke City (11-3) back-to-back CIF titles, winning eight consecutive games to end the 2019 season. Salina, playing in its first Champions Bowl contest, finished its season at 9-5.

Tied at 29-all, the Gladiators got what proved to be the winning touchdown with 17 seconds remaining in regulation on a Romello Brown 2-yard run.

The Liberty began their final possession of the season at midfield and advanced to the 3-yard line on two quick plays. After spiking the ball to stop the clock with two seconds remaining, Andrew Jackson's pass into the end zone was tipped and fell incomplete, enabling the Gladiators to hold on for the win.

Salina led by three to start the fourth quarter and had an opportunity to go in front by two scores, but turned the ball over.

Duke City went in front on Sedrick Johnson's one-handed catch on the left side of the end zone, as the 7-yard reception made it 28-23 with 5:12 to play. The Gladiators added a point with a rouge on the ensuing kickoff.

The Liberty got their final points of the season on a Jackson 1-yard sneak with 1:06 to play, but when the extra-point kick hit the upright, the game remained tied at 29-all.

Jackson had two rushing touchdowns along with 15 completions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Rashad Pargo getting both touchdown receptions in the first half.

The Liberty trailed by four at halftime, but Duke City opened the third quarter with a missed field goal and Salina went in front on its next possession.

It was consecutive rushing plays to finish the scoring drive, with Tracy Brooks carrying for 5 yards and Jackson getting the touchdown on a 6-yard carry. Jimmy Allen's extra-point kick made it 23-20 Salina with 5:44 to play in the third.

Salina got a defensive stop on the Gladiators next possession. Duke City had first-and-goal at the Liberty 9-yard line, but had two carries for 5 yards and incomplete passes on third and fourth down, chosing not to go for the game-tying field goal.

The Liberty opened the scoring with a 43-yard Allen field goal on their first possession of the game, but Duke City came back with back-to-back Brown rushing touchdowns to take a 14-3 lead late in the first period.

Salina got a pair of Pargo touchdown receptions in the second quarter. The first covered 3 yards and got the Liberty within 14-10. The second was on a 15-yard reception and cut Duke City's lead to 20-16 at halftime.