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SALT LAKE CITY - Las Vegas Gladiator K STEVE AZAR secured his team's second win of the season by sending a last-second field goal through the uprights for the 54-53 victory. The Gladiators (2-10) ended their nine-game losing streak on Friday night in front of 14,305 fans at EnergySolutions Arena. With the loss, the Utah Blaze fell to 5-7 and extended their losing streak to five games.
"We played at their level all night instead of playing at our normal tempo," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE. "We lost the game up front. We need to try to find a way to get back to playing at a championship level."
Las Vegas WR and former University of Utah player, TRAVIS LATANDRESSE, was named Offensive Player of the Game with nine receptions for 117 yards and four touchdowns. DL KARON RILEY was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Game by recording one sack, 3.0 tackles, including one for a loss and blocking one field goal. Ironman of the Game honors went to FB MARLION JACKSON, who recorded seven receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.
On the opening possession, Blaze QB JOE GERMAINE connected with WR TOM PACE for the first touchdown. The Blaze found the end zone two more times to end the quarter with a 21-0 lead. The score marked the first time in team history the Blaze held a team scoreless in the opening quarter.
The shutout didn't last long as the Gladiators scored on a juggling catch in the end zone to start the second quarter. A costly Blaze interception cut the Blaze lead to 14 by halftime.
The Gladiators outscored Utah 14-7 in the third quarter and blocked a Blaze field goal attempt to open the fourth, forcing a safety. The next score would give the Gladiators their first lead of the game. Teams traded scores until the final seconds, where the Azar kick sealed the victory for Las Vegas.
Germaine finished by completing 28-of-36 passes for 322 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Pace led all receivers with 11 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns while teammate, WR SIAHA BURLEY finished with 11 receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
The Blaze travel to Orlando next Friday, May 25 to take on the Predators at 5:30 p.m. MT. The Blaze will return home to the EnergySolutions Arena on Monday, June 4 to face the Colorado Crush in their only nationally televised game of the season (ESPN2).