SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah Blaze are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 as they prepare to take on the San Antonio Talons Friday night.
But despite the fact that the Blaze have never won a playoff game (0-3), they are feeling confident.
"We're going to change that," said defensive lineman Caesar Rayford about the Blaze playoff history. "History ain't going to repeat itself. We're going to be hitting them hard. They got that little talon thing on their helmet. We're going to smack [it]."
The Talons have done most of the smacking this year, though. They beat the Blaze twice this season, 54-48 in San Antonio and 64-61 in Salt Lake City. However, Utah had plenty of chances to win both games.
"Both times we played them, we were ahead," said head coach Ron James. "But we relinquished the lead late in the games. So we just have to play our game, make sure we hold on to the lead, and make sure that we're playing aggressively throughout."
"They're a great team," receiver Aaron Lesue said about the Talons. "That's why they're where they're at. They're the #1 seed. But I feel like our coaches have done a great job in preparing us and putting us in a great position to win."
"They got us twice," said linebacker Mike Lewis. "But the third time is the charm."
The Talons have a lot more playoff experience on their roster than Utah does, but the Blaze feel their youthful exuberance will carry them to victory.
"I haven't been to the playoffs since high school," said Lewis. "So, I can't tell you how excited I am to play this game on national TV. We're going in there with the attitude that we are going to win."
The Blaze and Talons will play at 6:00 p.m. Friday night on the NFL Network. The winner moves on to the Western Conference Finals against either San Jose or Arizona.