Rattlers top Blaze in home opener, 77-49
Saturday March 30, 2013
Inexperience Hampers Blaze in Loss to ArenaBowl Champs
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Blaze showed there is still work to be done before it reaches its ultimate potential, as the team dropped its home opener to the Arizona Rattlers on Friday, 77-49. Throughout the night, an inexperienced offense put its youth on display, struggling to maintain its rhythm.
The night was full of bizarre moments, beginning with Utah’s first offensive snap. After DB David Hyland halted Arizona’s opening drive with a diving interception, QB Tommy Grady had his first pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Rattlers DL Cliff Dukes, who returned it two yards to the end zone for a quick score.
Utah turned the ball over again during its second drive, as Grady was intercepted by DB Jeremy Kellem. Arizona converted the turnover into point off a two-yard touchdown pass from QB Nick Davila to WR Tysson Poots, putting Utah in an early 13-0.
Grady answered back on the ensuing possession, finding rookie WR Mario Urrutia for a 10-yard scoring completion to end the first quarter.
Arizona opened the second quarter with a five-play drive that ended in a 27-yard scoring toss from Davila to Poots, but the Blaze responded as Grady fired a four-yard touchdown pass to WR Brandon Thompkins to cut the deficit, 20-14 midway through the quarter.
Rookie DB Maurice Leggett stepped in front of a Nick Davila pass for an interception on the ensuing drive and Grady made quick work of the turnover, hooking up with WR Chase Deadder on a three-yard score to give Utah a 21-20 lead with 3:29 remaining in the half.
The teams traded score to close out the quarter, as Davila found Jared Perry on a 30-yard touchdown pass and Grady hit Urrutia on a 14-yard scoring completion. The Rattlers got the final score of the half, as Poots hauled in his third touchdown of the game to take a 33-28 lead at the midway point.
The third quarter proved disastrous for the Blaze, beginning with a 22-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Rattlers DB Virgil Gray on the opening drive. Utah failed to convert a fourth down on the following possession, leading to a one-yard touchdown run by Arizona FB Odie Armstrong.
Utah’s third drive ended in yet another odd turnover, as Grady fired a pass over the middle that ricocheted off an official into the arms of an Arizona defender. Davila found Perry for a 23-yard score to give Arizona a 53-28 lead.
Tommy Grady finished the night completing 19-of-37 attempts for 195 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Mario Urrutia led all receivers with 11 receptions for 172 yards with three scores, while Chase Deadder hauled in six passes for 66 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
The Utah Blaze return to EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday, April 6th to take on the Tampa Bay Storm. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 1-888-99BLAZE or online through UTBlaze.com!
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers QB Nick Davila
RIDDEL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers DB Virgil Gray
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Arizona Rattlers WR Tysson Poots
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
22-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Rattlers DB Virgil Gray (3rd Quarter)
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Interception by Rattlers DL Antron Dillon off the official (3rd Quarter)
ABOUT THE BLAZE
The Utah Blaze host the defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers on Friday, March 29th at EnergySolutions Arena. Get YOUR tickets today by calling 1-888-99BLAZE or online at UTBlaze.com! Interact with us all week leading up to the game by using #AntiVenom on Twitter (@UTBLAZE) or Instagram (@UtahBlaze). Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/utahblaze) or head to UTBlaze.com for all the latest news!