Facebook Twitter

Utah Blaze: Blaze relieved to get first win of season, prepare for Crush

SHARE Utah Blaze: Blaze relieved to get first win of season, prepare for Crush

The team struggled to come up with enough cliched metaphors to describe last week's 67-50 victory over Kansas City.

Utah Blaze players and coaches alike compared the win to getting a monkey off their back. They likened the win to finding the final piece to a puzzle.

One thing they all hoped, though, was that the end of the drought would open the floodgates of success.

Beating the Brigade wasn't easy, but Utah had a fairly comfortable lead through much of the game and, if nothing else, gained a load of confidence despite being only 1-9 on the season and still at the bottom of the standings.

"It was great to see our guys fight for four quarters," Blaze coach Danny White said. "We came out on the first series of the third quarter and threw an interception, and it could have been real easy for everybody to go in the tank at that point. Everyone just kept playing and stayed up the whole game."

In fact, the third quarter last week was the best of the season for the Blaze, who have frequently come out of the locker room flat and without much energy. After Kansas City turned a Joe Germaine interception into a touchdown to get within six points, Utah established itself offensively with a pair of rushing touchdowns.

"We didn't let ourselves get down," White said. "That hasn't been the case very much this year. So it was really good to see us come back and put ourselves back in control."

Aside from that interception, Germaine had perhaps his best game of the season. Completing 24-of-30 passes for 337 yards and eight touchdowns, the Blaze quarterback continued his season of impressive stats. Germaine currently leads the AFL in yards (3,148) and touchdowns (64) while completing 68.9 percent of his passing attempts. His QB rating of 122.8 is second-best in the league, trailing only Philadelphia's Tony D'Orazio.

Germaine's effort was recognized by the league with its player of the week award.

Blaze receiver Huey Whittaker is having a phenomenal season, statistically speaking. Hauling in an AFL-best 96 receptions for 1,151 yards (just 15 yards away from leading the league) Whittaker is one of three dependable targets for Germaine to throw to.

The confidence stemming from last weekend's win, though, will be tested right away when Colorado pays a visit to EnergySolutions Arena. If there's one team the Blaze should feel confident against, however, it is the Crush.

Utah owns a 2-0 record against Colorado.

AZAR WAIVED: Utah's win was not without disappointment.

The Blaze blew three extra points, with kicker Steve Azar missing twice and another snap being dropped.

The result is another move from White's quick trigger-finger. Azar was waived by the team on Tuesday.

Steve Videtich, who was initially waived but then placed on injured reserve following a Week 1 loss in which he missed two field goals and a PAT, is still with the team and is a frequent spectator at home games. If he's ready to go, he'll likely be activated in time for Saturday's game.

Azar made 2-of-6 six field goal attempts and 63-of-68 PATs after replacing Videtich on the active roster.

Also released was injured offensive lineman Myniya Smith. The Blaze then signed defensive back William Fields and former University of Utah offensive lineman Kyle Gunther to the practice squad.

BLAZE THINK PINK: As part of Mother's Day observations, the AFL will play with ceremonial game balls this weekend. The balls will feature a pink stripe rather than the usual blue stripe. They will also feature pink laces and crosshairs.

The commemorative balls will be used for first- and second-half kickoffs and during special coin toss presentations. Each participating team will present pink balls to unsuspecting mothers in attendance while also auctioning off autographed balls on arenafootball.com.

SCOUTING CONNECTION: The Blaze and the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America have joined forces.

For every $30 ticket purchased for this week's game and the May 24 game against Chicago, the Blaze will donate $15 to the local scout council; $19 tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate of $10 and result in a $5 donation.

"I have been involved with Boy Scouts for my entire life," said White, who currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board in Arizona for the Grand Canyon Council. "It is a great organization, and I am happy to know that the Blaze and the Boy Scouts of America will be supporting one another."

Tickets may be purchased by going online to utahblaze.com/bsa.

Utah Blaze on air

Utah Blaze (1-9) vs.

Colorado Crush (4-5)

Saturday, 7 p.m.

EnergySolutions Arena

TV: KJZZ Ch. 14

Radio: 1320 AM

E-mail: jeborn@desnews.com