SALT LAKE CITY -- Disheartened but not ready to give up, the Utah Blaze will take to the field tonight for their final home game of the 2011 Arena Football League season.
At 7-9, the Blaze are all-but eliminated from postseason play. Injuries to QB Tommy Grady and a slew of talented receivers has turned Utah into a squad hoping to regroup at season's end.
The Blaze host the New Orleans VooDoo at 7 p.m. tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah fell to the Spokane Shock 76-49 last Saturday, the first-ever regular season outdoor arena football game. Spokane's defense prevailed and they now hold the tie-breaker in the race towards the playoffs.
"We simply made too many mistakes and that was ultimately the difference," said coach Ron James. "We need to find a way to turn things around this week as we face the VooDoo."
Early, Utah didn't miss a beat in the first quarter behind newly acquired QB Todd Hammel. But once the Shock built a two-score lead, the Blaze couldn't catch up.
Hammel completed 23-of-34 passes for 258 yards and five touchdowns. The defense was led by DB Al Phillips, who notched 5.0 total tackles.
The VooDoo (3-13) are led by QB Danny Whimpire.
Next week, the Blaze pack their bags to face Cleveland Gladiators in their last game of the regular season. If the Blaze are victorious their last two regular games of the season, they will have a fighting chance to clinch a playoff spot.
* GAME NOTES: Utah will be hosting a youth sports night where all youths who wear their teams' jersey will receive free admission to the contest. ...
The Blaze announced the signing of DB Joe Lopez (6-0, 200) to the 2011 roster.