The Spokane Shock contributed to this story
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Erik Meyer's 4th down pass into the end zone fell incomplete as the Spokane Shock dropped their second straight game on Saturday, 52-48 against the Utah Blaze.
On the Shock's opening possession, Blaze defensive lineman Casear Rayford pushed his way into the back field and was able to knock the ball from Meyer's hands, opening a Blaze touchdown pass between quarterback Tommy Grady and Mario Urrutia to take the early lead 7-0. Spokane and Utah would trade scores on touchdowns receptions by the Shock's Duane Brooks from 8-yds out and the Blaze's Aaron Lesue on a 30-yd post corner route to maintain the Blaze lead at 14-7.
Back-to-back kickoffs would display action only possible in the Arena Football League. On Utah's ensuing kickoff after going up 14-7, a bar-ball would send the ball bouncing all the way out to the 20-yd line before Shock defensive back Patrick Stoudamire would scoop up the loose ball and go right past Blaze kicker Kyle Brotzman to take the ball in for the touchdown from 30-yds out. On Spokane's following kick and in a similar turn of events, the ball was knocked loose in the end zone by Shock wide receiver Kamar before bouncing into the hands of Blaze wide receiver Aaron Lesue, allowing him to scoop up the kick and take it 54-yds for the score. Utah would hold the Shock to a four-and-out and maintain their lead at 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
A sloppy second quarter by both teams would be proven by only 13 combined points after a 35 point first quarter. The Blaze would continue their possession from the second quarter, but a fumble by wide receiver Mario Urrutia would give the ball back to the Shock with 13:50 remaining in the half. After back to back penalties on the Shock offense which would push them to a 4th and goal from the 21-yd line, the Shock attempted a field goal which would be missed, giving Utah their second stop of the game and the ball on their own 8-yd line with the 21-14 lead. Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady would lead the Utah offense down field and while under duress from mac linebacker Beau Bell, Grady would throw a masterfully placed ball in the left corner of the end zone where Aaron Lesue would make an incredible diving catch for the Blaze score, pushing the Utah up to two touchdowns at 27-14. On Spokane's next possession, they would suffer their second turnover of the game on a fumble by Shock wide receiver Kamar Jorden giving Utah back the ball on their own 11-yd line. The Shock defense would go on to force Utah to a four-and-out situation, providing the Shock offense with the opportunity to score in the final seconds of the half on a 14-yd pass between Erik Meyer and Adron Tennell. The first half would come to a close with Utah leading 27-21.
Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady completed 12 of 20 passes for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns as Aaron Lesue led the Blaze receivers with 4 receptions for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 17 of 23 passes for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns while being sacked twice. Duane Brooks led Shock receivers with 7 receptions for 72 yards and 1 score.
On the Blaze's opening drive of the second half, it would take only one play for quarterback Tommy Grady to find wide receiver L.J. Castile on a 46-yard pass to give the Blaze a 33-21 lead only 28 seconds into the third quarter. The Shock would show their first red zone wrinkle of the season with backup quarterback Arvell Nelson running the power style, wild cat offense as he would take the snap on a power sweep and score from 3-yds out to bring the game back within five points at 28-33. Another fumble by the Blaze offense would occur on their next drive in a missed snap exchange giving the Shock an opportunity to take the lead, but digging in on the their own 3-yd line the Utah defense would force Spokane to a four-and-out and take over on downs and maintain their lead at 28-33 to close out the third quarter.
In the final quarter of play, the Blaze would continue their drive from the previous quarter and after a false start penalty, Shock defensive back Cameron McGlenn would record his first interception of the season as he jumped a crossing route over the middle and took the pass into the end zone for the Shock score to give Spokane their first lead of the game at 34-33. Down but not out, Blaze quarterback would go on to lead the Utah offense to a 5 play, 39 yard drive to be capped by a 13-yd touchdown reception by Mario Urrutia. On the Blaze's ensuing kickoff, David Hyland would recover loose ball and set up the Blaze on the Spokane 5-yd line. For the second time on the night Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady would be intercepted, this time by Shock defensive back Paul Stephens as he jumped the quick out route in the end zone and would then return the ball 53-yds for the Shock touchdown to give Spokane the 41-40 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The team's would yet again trade scores in the final minutes of play as the Blaze would take a late 52-48 lead with one minute remaining in the contest. A failed onside kick attempt by Utah would give Spokane the ball on the Utah 10-yd line as Spokane would go on to run three consecutive run plays and wind the clock down to the final 14 seconds. On fourth down, the Shock would attempt the go ahead touchdown pass and have the ball knocked out of the air just shy of the hands of wide receiver Adron Tennell by David Hyland to seal the Utah win at 52-48.
Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 26 of 39 passes for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensive back Paul Stephens recorded 8 tackles on the night, 1 pass breakup and a 53-yard interception for a touchdown. Cameron McGlenn recorded his first interception as a member of the Shock while Patrick Stoudamire would record a 30-yd kickoff return for a score. Kamar Jorden led the Shock receiving effort with 10 receptions for 112 yards.
Tommy Grady completed 26 of 39 attempts for 329 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions which were both returned by the Shock for touchdowns. Mario Urrutia led the Blaze receivers with 11 receptions for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Utah defense came up big with 3 fumble recoveries against the Shock and also two key fourth down stops, only allowing four touchdowns by the Shock offense on the night.
The Shock return home to Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday, May 11th against the Orlando Predators. The game will be broadcasted live on SWX at 7:00 pm.