Blaze drop heartbreaker to Rattlers, 75-69
Sunday August 5, 2012
Utah Eliminated from ArenaBowl Contention in National Conference Championship
ARIZONA – The Utah Blaze (13-7) fell to the Arizona Rattlers (15-5) 75-69 in the final moments of the National Conference Championship in front of 9,644 at the US Airways Arena in Phoenix. Although the loss marks the conclusion of the 2012 season, the team is left with high hopes for 2013 after completing the greatest year in franchise history.
Utah held a 69-60 lead with just over a minute remaining in the contest, as QB Tommy Grady fired a three-yard touchdown to WR Aaron Lesue. But Arizona responded quickly, as QB Nick Davila tossed a 30-yard score to WR Maurice Purify on the next play from scrimmage to cut the lead to two points with 55 ticks left on the clock.
The Blaze received the ball at the seven yard line after recovering an onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff. Grady dropped back to pass on four consecutive plays, but was unable to find the end zone and was intercepted by LB Kevin McCullough on fourth-and-goal. Six plays later, Davila found Purify for the game-winning eight-yard touchdown.
QB Tommy Grady became the first player in AFL history to throw 10 touchdowns in a postseason game while also setting a playoff record for attempts. The Blaze signal caller completed 37-of-63 throws for 441 yards – second in AFL postseason history – with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
WR Tysson Poots set a postseason record for receptions, as he hauled 19 passes for 182 yards and four touchdowns. WR Aaron Lesue posted 12 receptions for 213 yards – third-most in playoff history – with five scores. OL Ed Ta’amu also got in the action, catching a three-yard touchdown pass.
The Utah Blaze come away from the 2012 season having raised the bar for the entire organization. The team posted the first winning record in franchise history with an all-time-best 13 victories on the season. The Blaze also won their first playoff game and advanced to the National Conference Championship for the first time in team history. At the same time, Utah’s players rewrote franchise record books while QB Tommy Grady shattered nearly every single-season passing mark. Needless to say, the franchise has a lot to look forward to in 2013.
ABOUT THE BLAZE
The Utah Blaze turned in its first winning season in franchise history while reaching the 2012 National Conference Championship with a 13-7 overall record. Season tickets for 2013 are now available for purchase by calling 1-888-99BLAZE! Follow the Utah Blaze on Facebook (facebook.com/utahblaze) and Twitter (@utblaze) for all the latest news and updates!