By CARLON SCOTT
Former BYU quarterback Paul Shoemaker began his new football career with a solid performance, helping the Utah Catzz to a 59-23 victory over the Tucson Mirage Saturday night at the McKay Events Center in Orem.
In his first start for the Utah Catzz of the Professional Indoor Football League, Shoemaker was 10 of 14 for 114 yards with a touchdown and an interception in one half of play.
Shoemaker used his mobility well, scrambling and rolling out of the pocket to find his receivers. On one play, Shoemaker worked a little magic as he fired a completion to Catzz wide receiver Gregg Hooks while being dragged to the turf by a Tucson defensive lineman.
Shoemaker ran the Catzz offense effectively, leading the team to scores in four of the five drives he quarterbacked in the first half.
Another former BYU athlete, Catzz wide receiver Tyler Anderson, was his usual speedy self. Anderson ran wild in the Mirage secondary all night. Catzz backup quarterback Roger Cook found Anderson in the end zone for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Catzz have brought in ex-BYU lineman Henry Bloomfield. After recording a sack in the third quarter, Bloomfield also put some points on the board.
With the Catzz on Tucson’s’ 4-yard line, Bloomfield took a handoff form Cook and rambled over the left side of the line for a touchdown. A pumped Bloomfield chucked the ball up in the stands as a free souvenir for some lucky Catzz fan.
Another standout on defense for the Catzz was former University of Utah defensive back Harold Ragin. Ragin scored the Catzz first points, picking up a Tucson fumble and taking it back 40 yards for a touchdown.
The Catzz offense combined the run and pass effectively. The Catzz defensive lineman were in the Tucson backfield the whole game, recording three safeties on the night.
Tucson looked like it wasn’t even in the same league as the Catzz. While Tucson is an expansion team that won’t compete in the league until 1999, everyone is basically an expansion team in this first year of competition in the PIFL.
This was the second of three pre-season exhibition games on the Catzz schedule this season.
The Catzz will get a better idea of how they match up in the league when they travel to Louisiana for their next game April 4 against the Louisiana Bayou Beast.