Arena football returned to the Salt Lake Valley. For the second year, the Utah Warriors will be lacing up turf cleats at the E-Center, this time as the NIFL runners-up.

"This is a great atmosphere, we love playing here." Coach Lee Leslie said.

In a Saturday night exhibition game, the Utah Indoor Football League All-Star team tuned up the Warriors for the upcoming season. The result was a 42-15 Warrior victory. Some all-stars were potentially interviewing for open slots on the Warriors roster.

The Warriors could have more holes than they anticipated.

Utah, nearly last in the NIFL in rushing offense last year, resorted to the ground game after a shaky first-half start by newly signed ex-Weber State quarterback Cole Cooper. Cooper finished out his first half as a Warrior with three interceptions and no passing touchdowns.

Former Ute Omar Bacon was the team's highlight, scoring all four of the Warriors' offensive touchdowns on the ground. Also encouraging was the play by former Aggie Emmett White.

The Warriors are hoping to resolve some issues concerning the league's most potent offense last year. Neither the league's leading passer, Danny Ragsdale, nor two of his top three receivers are returning from last year. Ragsdale was responsible for nearly all of the total yards produced by the Warriors last year. The Warriors' new quarterback, whomever it may be, has large shoes to fill.

"We need to get more than two practices under our belt," Leslie said, "Cole's a great player and (backup quarterback) Doug Smith is good, too."

Bacon, who lead the league last year in scoring, is optimistic about this year, and looks to once again hold the scoring title of the NIFL."

"If the offensive line can play this good, then I definitely have a chance this year. I'll definitely try," Bacon said.

White led the league last year in all-purpose yards with nearly 2,000.

Last year's defensive squad was troubled early on by injury, and this year's defensive team captain Henry Kaufusi is looking to remedy some of the defense's ailments. Kaufusi spoke on his objectives this year to better a defense that ranked 16th in the NIFL last year.

"We just need to pressure the offense more," he said. "It's an offensive game but if you interrupt the timing you can disrupt the offense."

Former Dixie linebacker and Hillcrest star Bart Admundsen returns to the Warriors this year. Listed as 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, Admundsen explodes on the ball carrier.

"It's exciting to play again, and we have great fan support this year," Admundsen said.

Leslie expressed his concern with his team's performance and its ability before its season-opener on March 13 against the newly formed Colorado Venom.