QB change doesn't help Vigilantes
DALLAS -- The Dallas Vigilantes announced their plans for the future Saturday night, but in the present they dropped their final home game of the year, 51-41, to the Utah Blaze.
Former Dallas Desperados quarterback Clint Dolezel was named the Vigilantes' 2011 coach at halftime, but missed chances offensively cost this year's edition a win in front of a season-high crowd of 9,123 at American Airlines Center.
Dallas struck first, as quarterback Collin Drafts hit a wide open Derek Lee for a 20-yard strike. Kicker Mark Lewis missed the PAT, his first miss in his last 30 tries, to leave the V's up 6-0.
Lee had a big game with 69 receiving yards and three touchdowns, but Blaze receiver Aaron Boone was even better. Boone caught his first of five touchdown passes on the next possession to give the Blaze a 7-6 lead. He only had 63 yards receiving but made the most of his nine catches.
Interim Vigilantes coach James Fuller said Boone benefitted from illegal picks set by his teammates all game. Defensive back Jason Harmon said the receiver just made plays.
"[Boone] has been doing this for a long time," Harmon said. "He's a respectable receiver, and he just did his thing."
Drafts and Lee connected again on the next possession to retake the lead for Dallas (2-13), but two roughing-the-passer penalties kept the Blaze offense moving toward Boone's second touchdown. Utah led 14-13 after the first.
Both sides traded scores early in the second quarter, with the Blaze (2-13) missing their PAT to even the game at 20.
After the Blaze went into halftime with a 34-27 lead, Fuller made the decision to go with Daniel Raudabaugh at quarterback.
Raudabaugh had never thrown an Arena League pass and only joined the team June 24. Fuller said the change was in part due to Drafts' tendency to fumble, and in part just to give Raudabaugh a shot.
"Collin and I have developed a nice relationship," Raudabaugh said. "I've tried to be supportive of him, so when my number did get called, he'd be supportive of me."
Raudabaugh finished 9-of-17 with 131 yards and two touchdowns after Drafts went 10-for-14 for 100 yards and four scores and an interception.
Raudabaugh made Fuller's decision look good when a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lee tied the score, 4-1-41. The Vigilantes had a chance to retake the lead after a fumble recovery, but they turned the ball over after failing to convert on fourth and goal.
With the Blaze facing fourth down on their next possession, a Dallas stop was negated by a late hit on the quarterback. Boone scored for the final time to put Utah up for good, 48-41.
The Vigilantes didn't score in the fourth quarter, and the Blaze kicked a field goal for insurance.
"We had chances," Fuller said. "We had a point where we fought back and got it tied and didn't execute offensively."
Josh Davis is an ESPNDallas.com intern and a writer for TCU's student newspaper, the Daily Skiff.