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LAS VEGAS - The Utah Blaze (4-1) jumped out to a 21-3 first quarter lead, but had to battle back to knock off Western Division rival, Las Vegas Gladiators (1-4) in Sunday night's 57-47 victory in front of 5,416 fans at the Orleans Arena.
"It is difficult to stay focused when you get a big lead on a team," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE. "I am glad that we regained our composure and finished strong in the fourth quarter. Division wins are big and we will take this one and get ready for Austin next week."
The Blaze were led by Offensive Player of the Game WR SIAHA BURLEY, who had eight receptions for 163 yards and four touchdowns. Blaze QB JOE GERMAINE finished the game completing 20-of-35 passes for 360 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
ADT Defensive Player of the Game was DB ORSHAWANTE BRYANT, who tallied 6.5 total tackles, while Ironman of the Game DB/KR CLARENCE LAWSON added 6.0 total tackles, forced a fumble, a fumble recovery and added 41 return yards in the victory.
Utah used many different ways to open the first quarter scoring. Burley hauled in a 4-yard touchdown catch, FB CHRIS ROBINSON recorded a 5-yard scoring run and TE/DL JOHN CULP's 39-yard touchdown reception to summed up the Blaze's scoring in the opening stanza.
The Gladiators outscored the Blaze 37-16 over the next two quarters with the highlight being a sack and safety on Germaine in the third quarter.
Former NFL QB SHAUN KING finished the evening by completing 25-of-37 passes for 287 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. WR THABITI DAVIS led the Las Vegas receivers with eight receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
The Blaze outscored the Gladiators 20-7 in the fourth quarter, while Burley tallied three second-half touchdowns and helped lead Utah to victory. The victory allows the Blaze to maintain sole possession of first in the Western Division and improve their record to 2-0 in the division.
The Blaze will travel to Austin, Texas this Friday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. (MT) where they will face the Austin Wranglers (1-4) at the Frank Erwin Center. The game can be heard live on 1280 The Zone.