SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah Blaze (5-6) fell to the Western Division-leading Arizona Rattlers (10-2), 72-37, in front of 7,997 fans on Tim Dahle field at EnergySolutions Arena. With the loss, Utah remains in fourth place in the National Conference and is still in contention for a final playoff spot.
“The good news is we’re still in the playoff hunt,” said Offensive Coordinator Matthew Sauk. “We need to put this game behind us and move on. Tulsa is looking for that same playoff spot we are, so we have to start getting ready now.”
Arizona drove down the field to open up the night, scoring on a 12-yard touchdown strike from QB Nick Davila (6-3, 210, Cincinnati) to WR/DB Trandon Harvey (5-11, 190, Washington State). The Blaze responded on the next drive with a one-yard rush by FB Ben Stallings (5-11, 263, Delta State). The teams traded touchdowns to end the quarter, closing with the Rattlers on top, 14-12.
The Rattlers pulled away in the second quarter with five touchdowns, three of which coming from special teams. The Blaze only notched one touchdown in the quarter with an 11-yard pass from QB Tommy Grady (6-7, 245, Utah) to WR Alvance Robinson (5-9, 165, Alabama State).The teams entered the locker rooms with the Rattlers leading, 48-19.
In the third quarter backup QB Trevor Harris (6-2, 220, Edinboro) connected with WR Rod Windsor (6-2, 215, Western New Mexico) for two touchdowns. FB Odie Armstrong (6-1, 260, Northwest Oklahoma State) also notched a 19-yard rushing touchdown, hurdling over a Blaze defender in the process. The Blaze tallied a touchdown of their own on a four-yard pass from Grady to WR Chris Bocage (5-10, 190, Southern California), making the score 72-25 as they entered the final quarter of play.
To start the fourth quarter, Blaze WR Justin Ore (6-2, 185, Western Oregon) hauled in a six-yard touchdown catch in his professional football debut. QB Jordan Rasmussen (6-5,225, Pacific Lutheran) also completed his first touchdown pass of the season on a 42-yard strike to WR Ernie Pierce (6-3, 215, Kansas State). The defense held Arizona scoreless in the quarter and the game ended 73-37.
Grady finished the night completing 22-of-43 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. He now has 78 touchdowns on the season and stays on pace to break the AFL’s single season touchdown record. Pierce led the Blaze receivers with 14 receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns.