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Utah Blaze: Ice-cold Blaze still searching

SHARE Utah Blaze: Ice-cold Blaze still searching

It's sounding like a broken record week after week, but the Utah Blaze still feel like they are much better than their record indicates and are just one victory away from climbing back into playoff contention.

The winless Blaze's next attempt to start to right the ship will be tonight at the EnergySolutions Arena against the defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

"We're still only two games out of the playoffs right now," said Blaze offensive lineman Devin Wyman. "Nobody on this team has quit. We have a great group of guys that are still hungry, and we are going to get some wins."

After tonight's contest the 16-game Arena Football League season will be half over for the Blaze. Amazingly, it is true that Utah, despite its 0-7 start, is only two games behind the Grand Rapids Rampage, the team in sixth place in the AFL's American Conference. The top six teams go to the postseason.

Utah also benefits from playing in the Western Division where there isn't a single team with a winning record right now. San Jose comes into the game with a 3-4 mark, having lost three of its past four games.

That hardly makes Blaze coach Danny White feel much better, however.

"San Jose is still a very deadly team with great skill position players," said White. "They have the most veteran defensive backfield in the league. It will be the best test our passing game has had all season."

The SaberCats lost a heartbreaker last week when they had a big lead over the unbeaten Philadelphia Soul but ended up losing by a single point.

All of the SaberCats' losses this year have come against opponents outside of the Western Division. San Jose has also owned the division in recent years, having won 12 straight games against rivals from the West dating back to the 2006 campaign.

The SaberCats are led by veteran quarterback Mark Grieb, who has thrown for 33 touchdowns this season. Cleannord Saintil and James Roe are two of Grieb's favorite targets.

Utah's secondary of Damon Mason, Reggie Doster and Eddie Canonico will have its hands full but feel they are starting to get on the same page after just teaming up three weeks ago. The Blaze defense has given up an average of 66.1 points per game, worst in the AFL.

The Blaze offense has been much better. Led by Joe Germaine, who leads the league in passing yardage and touchdowns, Utah is averaging 57.4 points per game, which is sixth best in the league.

"Once we get that first win, we'll get the domino effect and win some more," predicted Wyman. "We have a powerful offense. Now if we can just put it together and keep our heads up, we'll be fine."

E-mail: lojo@desnews.com