Defense Bails Out Preds
A promising start by the Predators offense led to an early 7-0 lead. When the Brigade answered to tie the game it seemed as if maybe we were going to have a shootout. However, that did not turn out to be the case.
With the Predators leading 24-21 late in the second quarter the Brigade drove to the Predators 10 yard line before quarterback Andy Kelly was intercepted by Preds Defensive Specialist Jeroid Johnson in the end zone to close out the half.
The Brigade would get the ball to start the second half and this time they were turned away on downs. The Predators then drove the ball down to the Brigade’s two yard line, but some questionable play calling would lead to an Idris Price fumble and the Brigade would recover at their own one yard line. On the Brigade’s ensuing possession they would again gamble on fourth down and not get it; the Brigade did not score in the third quarter.
The Predators next possession saw Quarterback Joe Hamilton complete a pass to Wide Receiver/Defensive Back DeAndrew Rubin again moving the ball to the Brigade’s two yard line. This time on third and goal the Predators would make no mistake giving the ball to Fullback/Linebacker Marlon Moye-Moore for the one yard plunge and a 10 point lead at 31-21.
The Brigade would get a touchdown on their next drive but, the Predators would block Kicker Tim Seder’s extra point attempt and Jermaine Mays would pick the ball up and return it for a two point play to make the score 33-27 Predators.
Orlando had a golden opportunity to blow the game wide open on their next possession when what in the world of Braniff Bonaventure was Joe Hamilton thinking overthrowing a wide open Jimmy Fryzel and instead throwing a game changing interception. The Brigade would take that gift all the way to the end zone on their following possession and go ahead 34-33 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
On the Orlando Predators next possession Head Coach Jay Gruden made his best decision of the night. He would take the ball right out of Hamilton’s hands as Marlon Moye-Moore ran the Predators right back into the lead with his 15 yard touchdown run. Hamilton could not find a receiver on the two point conversion so he did the smart thing and ran to his left with the ball extended just in front of the pylon to make the score 41-34 with four minutes remaining.
Andy Kelly would then throw his second interception of the night, this time to Jermaine Mays who returned the ball up the left sideline for a Predator touchdown and a 48-34 lead at the one minute mark.
With the Jungle rocking and rolling seemingly to another Friday night Preds win Kelly would very calmly find WR/LB James Jordan for a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining, cutting the Preds lead to 48-41. On the onsides kick it was Jordan who would come up with the recovery for the Brigade.
The game would end just as the first half did with the Predators defense standing up tall to keep the Brigade out of the end zone. Kelly’s last second pass was knocked down by Jeroid Johnson. Yes, there was a second left when the pass was ruled incomplete; but please direct those complaints to our clock operator who should have been replaced years ago.
I have always liked to think that I have the patience of a coach when it comes to struggling quarterbacks and I will continue to give Quarterback Joe Hamilton leeway as long as the Predators are winning. I am always the first to defend Hamilton when someone on the great ArenaFan message boards decides to bash him because I feel that being a Heisman runner-up in his college days well over-qualifies him for the starting QB on any AFL team.
However, in the first two weeks of the season this is Hamilton’s line; he is 41 of 68 passes for 398 yards 5 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions—two of which went for touchdowns the other way costing Orlando the game against the Georgia Force. So when I say "What in the world of Braniff Bonaventure", I know my Predator friends are out there cringing when they hear that name because all you can think of is HORRIBLE.
Take some advice from the cheap seats and Jay Gruden. "Joe has to make better decisions, hell, he almost won a Heisman running the ball, he won’t run the dang thing" Gruden said.
Simple as that my friend, if its not there pull the ball down and use your god given talent to run the ball and make big plays instead of taking the positive of getting away and turning it into a negative by throwing a bad interception.
Friday Night Lights
With their victory over the Brigade the Orlando Predators improved their Friday night home winning streak to seven games stemming back to the 2004 season when they took a 52-44 loss to the Georgia Force. This fact further proves that the Jungle on Friday nights is without a doubt the toughest venue to enter and win. The Georgia Force will visit the Orlando Predators in their next Friday night home game on April 14th.
Orlando’s Kicker Jay Taylor has not missed a single field goal or extra point in his first two games. He is 9 of 9 on extra points and 2 of 2 in field goals.
The Predators had three rushing touchdowns in this game all of which were from 15 yards and in. Last season this was known as Cory Fleming’s territory, it is now Idris Price and Marlon Moye-Moore territory as the Predators will continue to look to run inside the red zone.
On Saturday night the Predators will welcome back their former assistant coach Bret Munsey who is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Soul. Munsey will also bring three former Predators with him in E.J. Burt, Michael Brown, and Reggie Doster who were all key parts of the 2005 Predators squad. Game time is set for 7:30pm in the Jungle where the Predators have won 9 of their last 10 games.
Jason Lucas is a part-time freelance writer based in the Orlando, Florida area. A former director of media relations with the Orlando Predators, Jason is making his return to Arenafan.com after a short stint as a public relations assistant with the UFL‘s Florida Tuskers in 2010. Lucas has followed the AFL since 1992 and began covering the Predators for Arenafan during the 2004 season. He held that position until being picked up by the Preds front office after the 2007 season. Jason‘s knowledge of arena football and love of the game is what drives him to continue covering the sport.