SALT LAKE CITY -- The Spokane Shock wound up on the losing end of a 69-62 battle against the Utah Blaze at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday night.
The game came down to the very end. With just three seconds left in the game, the Shock offense took over at its own 14-yard line down by a touchdown. Kyle Rowley heaved a Hail Mary pass into the end zone that fell incomplete as time expired.
Utah’s offense grabbed all the headlines coming into the game, but it was the Blaze defense that made the difference. Utah stopped the Shock offense twice in the first half, with a fumble recovery and a turnover on downs, and capitalized with two touchdowns and put Spokane in a hole for most of the game.
Utah scored on their first possession of the game when Tommy Grady hooked up with his leading receiver Aaron Boone on an eight-yard touchdown reception. The point after attempt was missed, leaving the door open for Spokane’s offense.
Rowley took to the field and quickly led the Shock with a five-play 39-yard drive that was capped off with a seven-yard touchdown completion to Shaun Kauleinamoku. Taylor Rowan converted the PAT and gave Spokane the 7-6 lead.
The Blaze fired back with one of their longest drives on the night and struck paydirt on a two-yard touchdown run by Ben Stallings. The touchdown gave the Blaze a 13-6 lead that they never relinquished for the duration of the game.
Rowley finished the game completing 81% of his passes for 323 yards with nine touchdowns tying his own single-game club record for most passing TDs. Grady completed 79% of his passes for 245 yards with six touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Spokane’s receiving corps was led by Greg Orton who collected five touchdowns, tying his personal best, on 14 receptions for 146 yards. Emery Sammons recorded 11 receptions for 111 yards with one touchdown, while Kauleinamoku hauled in three touchdown catches.
Utah's Boone caught ten passes for 100 yards with three touchdowns.
The showdown between the Shock and the Blaze can be seen in its entirety on tape delay Sunday at 1pm on KSKN 22.
The Shock travel to Orlando next week to take on the Predators on Saturday (4:30pm). Spokane's next home game is April 30th when they host the Arizona Rattlers.