The Utah Blaze outscored Georgia 21-3 in a decisive 2nd quarter on way to a 61-38 win over the Force Saturday night in an Arena Football League contest at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT.
The Force took a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bryant Moniz to Michael Johnson. Utah bounced back with three touchdowns in the second quarter, while holding the Force to a field goal, to take a 27-10 lead at the half.
The Force was able to pull within ten points of Utah twice in the second half, the latest coming in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Grier scored on a 1-yard toss sweep to make the score 41-31, but that was as close as the Force (7-8) would come to catching the Blaze (10-5).
Force quarterback Bryant Moniz completed 27 of 47 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns. His top receiver was C.J. Johnson who caught 11 passes for 127 yards. Georgia’s top receiving threat, Larry Shipp, was held to only 2 catches for 9 yards and one touchdown.
Utah quarterback Tommy Grady completed 25 of 28 passes for 306 yards and 8 touchdowns. His final touchdown pass, with 14 seconds left in the game, marked his 118th touchdown pass of the season, a new AFL single-season record.
The Force return home next weekend to battle their division rivals the Orlando Predators (2-12) on Sunday, July 1st at 3:00pm ET at the The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA. The game will be televised locally on WSB’s MeTV 2.2 as well as streamed live on Ustream.
In the Week 5 contest against the competitive Philadelphia Soul, the Georgia Force fell to their competitors with a final game score of 92-42. In front of a boisterous crowd of Arena Football League fans, the two competitors battled it out in The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.
Georgia Force QB RJ Archer had his first pass attempt of the game intercepted by Soul LB Joe Goosby for a touchdown, giving the visiting Soul an early 14-0 lead. A great kickoff return by offensive specialist CJ Johnson would give the Force the ball at midfield, where Archer and Johnson would go to work. Archer would find Johnson on fourth and four to set up a Force first and goal at the Soul six. Three plays later Archer hit an open Brandon McRae for a three yard touchdown. After a touchdown drive by the Soul, offensive specialist CJ Johnson would again give the Force great field position with a spectacular 42 yard kickoff return to end the first quarter.
Just one minute into the second quarter Archer would find Johnson again, this time for a five yard touchdown pass to get the Force back within a touchdown at 21-14. On their fourth possession of the game, Archer would again find Brandon McRae for another three yard touchdown to pull the Force within seven, 28-21. Unfortunately, the next possession for the hometown Force would end just like the first, as linebacker Melik Brown would intercept a pass thrown by Archer and return it for a Soul touchdown. Archer would again showcase his ability to put the past behind him on the next possession as he found McRae for an 18 yard gain on fourth down to set up his fourth touchdown pass of the half, a 15 yarder to CJ Johnson. However, the half would end with yet another Archer interception, this time, defensive back, Rawyshaun Kizer would take back an Archer pass 17 yards for a touchdown as time expired to give the visiting Soul a 56-28 lead.
Second half hopes were high as new quarterback Kevin Eakin looked to throw what was a 27 yard touchdown to Larry Shipp. However, Shipp was stripped from behind and Philadelphia was able to recover the fumble in the end zone. Two plays later Soul quarterback, Dan Raudabaugh would find wide receiver Tiger Jones for a 40 yard touchdown to give the Soul a 63-28 lead.
Eakin and the Force would again bounce back on their very next possession. On third and six, Eakin would find CJ Johnson on a post route to set up a Force first-and-goal from the Soul four yard line. Three plays later Shipp would atone for his earlier fumble and hall in a four yard touchdown pass from Eakin. However, the third quarter wouldn’t get any better as Kevin Eakin would fumble at the Force one yard line on their next possession. That fumble would allow Soul runningback Derrick Rose to score his second rushing touchdown in a 90 second span and give Philadelphia a 77-35 lead.
Despite the score, Eakin and the Force offense would come out with something to prove in the fourth quarter. Eakin would find a crossing CJ Johnson for 25 yards to set up a first-and-ten at the Soul 20. On the very next play, Eakin would hit Brandon McRae on a sideline go route for a 20 yard touchdown. McRae, originally looked like couldn’t haul in the pass but he was able to keep the ball off the ground and make a spectacular catch and his third touchdown reception of the day. Unfortunately, The Force wouldn’t be able to find the end-zone again as they would turn the ball over on downs on their final possession and lose to the Philadelphia Soul 92-42.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Dan Raudabaugh, Soul
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Joe Goosby, Soul
JLS Ironman of the Game: Derrick Ross, Soul
AFL Playmaker of the Game: Tiger Jones, Soul
Cutters Catch of the Game: Touchdown catch by Brandon McRae in the fourth quarter, Force
Spalding Highlight of the Game: Joe Goosby second interception, return for a touchdown, Soul
National Guard MVP: Joe Goosby, Soul
The Force will be home again this upcoming weekend, facing the Chicago Rush at the Arena on Gwinnett Center on Saturday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m.