CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Although a few last-second games went against them this year, the Utah Blaze had one go their way on Friday night.
The Blaze overcame the Eastern Division-leading Cleveland Gladiators 76-69 in their final game of the 2011 Arena League season at Quicken Loans Arena in front of 6,019 fans.
With the win, Utah finishes the season with a franchise-high nine wins.
"We were able to play a solid game on the road and pull off another last-second victory," said coach Ron James. "Finishing strong was one of our goals and this is definitely something we can build upon during the offseason."
QB Todd Hammel completed 31-of-44 passes for 355 yards and seven touchdowns, while Alvance Robinson led the receiving corp with nine receptions for 117 yards and four touchdowns.
DL Jeramie Richardson (6-1, 265, Angelo State) led the defense in his Blaze debut with 5.5 total tackles and two pass breakups.
After a slow start in which the Blaze trailed 13-9, the teams traded touchdowns up until halftime. With seconds left before the break, Utah's Kyle Brotzman drilled a 34-yard field goal to even the score at 34.
The teams each exchanged a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter as the Blaze finished on a high-note with WR Chris Bocage returning the kickoff 56 yards for a touchdown.
Utah's momentum continued in the fourth with FB Ben Stallings racking up two rushing touchdowns. The Gladiators tied it up at 69-69 with 21 seconds remaining. But Hammel found Justin Ore on a 29-yard TD strike for the win.