On Zombie Night at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, the Utah Blaze (5-10) fell to the New Orleans VooDoo (5-10) by a final of 63-49. Blaze quarterback Jason Boltus threw for 288 yards and had 6 touchdowns in the game, but it would be his interceptions that would negate the relatively good game he had behind center.
Both teams would exchange scores back and forth to leave the game tied at 21 by halftime. Utah’s luck would change in the 2nd half. The Blaze defense would allow the VooDoo to score 2 unanswered touchdowns. Then like a deadly zombie infection virus, Utah would lose players due to injury. Wide receiver Mario Urrutia was ejected for throwing a punch at the end of a play in frustration. At one point, the Blaze were down to just 14 men. DB Maurice Leggett and DB David Hyland would play an iron man role, remaining on the field on both sides of the ball. Hyland got himself a few tackles, and interception that would deny New Orleans six, and a TD as well as a wide out.
“It was fun,” said iron man DB/WR David Hyland concerning playing both sides of the ball. “It’s something I’ve been bugging and talking to coach about all year just kind of joking with him. I guess when it came down to it all those little things I’ve done throughout the season really paid off and I got to get in there and try to help my team win, but I guess I just didn’t do enough.”
Hyland also went on to explain that he’d have to train for a triathlon to consistently play on both sides of the ball to avoid injuries and maintain a high level of endurance, especially in the high altitudes of Utah. He has wide receiver roots, but says he’s a defensive player, and loves to hit hard and catch balls on the defensive side.
Blaze head coach Ron James says his team needs to play smarter football.
“We did not do a good job at the end of the first half,” said coach James. “We had the ball in a one minute drill, and that should have been an easy scoring opportunity for us. We’re not playing smart football. We got a receiver that instead of getting out of bounds, stays in play. We try to call a timeout off the thing, he gets a penalty that draws us back, then we have a 4th and long and we don’t convert and they end up with a 2 for 1 going into the half.”
There were many more ‘dumb’ mistakes made including a fumble on the 2 yard line, an ejection, and a handful of interceptions thrown. The defense was unable to establish any pressure on VooDoo quarterback Chris Dixon. He had plenty of time to throw, or plenty of room to take off on foot. At one point, Utah had offensive lineman rushing the quarterback, which bought New Orleans plenty of time to gain some victory yards.
At this point in the Blaze season that is coming to a close, players are playing for their future with the team. With the playoffs way out of the picture, the Blaze will have to motivate themselves to play for their careers next season.
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Sports-Kings Down and Distance Contributor Austin Peat @PistolPeat187