Andy Kelly, the Utah Blaze's new but old (by football standards) quarterback helped the team end a four-game losing streak on Saturday night. Kelly, the 37-year-old, 13-year Arena Football League veteran, threw eight touchdown passes during the Blaze's 63-61 victory over the Los Angeles Avengers.

Kelly played so well, in fact, that questions have come up whether or not former starter Joe Germaine — who has missed five games in a row due to a broken middle finger on his right hand — will get his job back this year. After all, the Blaze have just four regular season games remaining.

That decision will likely be put off a week. Germaine is expected to test his hand by throwing a bit this week, but he will not be rushed into playing — especially since the Blaze will travel Thursday and will face the conference-leading Colorado Crush in Denver on Friday.

Germaine "is at least four or five days of throwing away before he'll be able to practice," said White. "We have a short week with a game on Friday, and we have to travel on Thursday, so I can't see him playing this week."

So while Kelly will get his second start this week for the Blaze, coach Danny White has made it clear that Germaine is the QB of the future.

HELP FROM FRIENDS: Kelly had been with the Blaze less than a week when he made his successful debut. If fellow Blaze quarterbacks Germaine and Jason Gesser had any problems with the team bringing him in, they certainly didn't show it.

"I can't say enough about Jason and Joe," said Kelly. "Those guys both really helped me out in practice. If I ever had a question and the coaches were busy, I'd go right to them. . . . I owe a big deal of thanks for those guys for helping me."

Kelly, the all-time AFL leader in passing yardage, said he felt relatively comfortable leading the Blaze despite being with the team for such a short amount of time.

"I studied all week at least two, two-and-a-half hours every night, and I haven't done that in 11 years of arena football," said Kelly.

PLAYOFF GLANCE: The Blaze are still only 4-8 on the season, but they are tied with the Chicago Rush for the sixth best record in the nine-team American Conference. Six teams make the playoffs.

If the playoffs were to start this week, however, Chicago would get the final spot due to a better record against common opponents to the Blaze.

With four games to play, however, Utah has plenty of opportunity to pull ahead of the Rush — especially since they face each other in Chicago on May 6.

In addition, the No. 5 team in the conference is Las Vegas, which is just one game ahead of the Blaze. Utah plays the Gladiators in Las Vegas on April 28.

BLAZING SPEED: Rookie Kevin Moffett, the fastest member of the Blaze, made several spectacular plays as a kickoff returner on Saturday — highlighted by a 54-yard touchdown. It was the first kickoff returned for a score in franchise history. For the game, Moffett returned five kicks for 136 yards.

Not bad for a guy playing in just his second AFL game. Moffett has spent the majority of the season on the injured list.

"Moff brings a lot of excitement to the game," said White. "You don't ever know exactly what he's going to do. He's an exciting player, but he has got to be groomed, though."

Moffett, when he isn't returning kicks, is a defensive specialist — and he is still learning that position.

"He was a little bit of a liability on defense because we were playing those zones down in the red zone, but Kevin Moffett is a great athlete, and we love to have him on the field whenever we can."


E-mail: lojo@desnews.com