JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After throwing five interceptions two weeks ago, Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady exploded for 11 touchdowns on Friday.
That effort lead the Utah Blaze (3-2) to a 75-67 victory over the defending ArenaBowl Champion Jacksonville Sharks (1-3) in front of a crowd of 9,016 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The combination of Grady to wide receiver Aaron Lesue was nearly unstoppable, as the pair hooked up for seven touchdown connections. Grady threw for 325 yards with 10 touchdowns and added another score on a quarterback sneak. The electric Blaze offense was defined by efficiency, scoring touchdowns on all 11 of its possessions.
The teams exchanged scores throughout much of the night, tying the game on five occasions. The trend looked as though it would continue when Sharks WR Terrance Smith hauled in a 38-yard touchdown from QB Omar Jacobs with 52 seconds remaining in the contest. However, Utah retained a 68-67 lead after K Marco Capozzoli missed the extra point attempt. With 33 seconds left of the clock, Grady rolled out and fired a bullet to Lesue, who made a remarkable reception off the wall in the end zone to seal the game.
"We were in an old-fashioned AFL shootout tonight," said head coach Ron James. "We were able to be very efficient on the offensive side by scoring on all of our possession. Ultimately, that was the difference in the game."
Utah WR Alvance Robinson contributed 10 receptions for a game-high 183 yards and two touchdowns. WR Ernie Pierce had a touchdown catch of his own, as he caught five balls for 32 yards. Defensively, MLB Jacob Hardwick and DL Mike Lewis each delivered solo sacks.
QB Omar Jacobs led the way for the Sharks, as he threw for 290 yards and nine touchdowns. WR Jeron Harvey caught 11 passes for 83 yards and four scores, while WR Terrance Smith contributed eight receptions for 154 yards and five touchdowns.