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Predators Fall to San Jose SaberCats, 70-35

Sunday May 4, 2014

SAN JOSE, CA – In their only trip to the west coast this season, the Orlando Predators (5-3) dropped a 70-35 contest to the San Jose SaberCats (5-3) on Saturday evening. The team was shorthanded in the second half after starting quarterback Jason Boltus was knocked out of the game with seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Early turnovers put the Predators in a 21-0 hole during the game’s opening period. Two fumbled snaps and an interception allowed the SaberCats to build a three-score lead out of the gate, but Orlando would battle back. In the final moments of the first quarter, Boltus connected with WR Khalil Paden on a 23-yard touchdown completion to cut the deficit, 21-7.
SaberCats QB Russ Michna found WR Jason Willis on a 12-yard score to regain the 21-point advantage, but the Predators offense would answer again. On the ensuing series, Boltus dropped back and launched a deep 41-yard touchdown pass to WR Greg Carr. San Jose regained possession, only to turn the ball over on downs after a strong goal line stand by the Predators’ defense. Following the turnover, Orlando cut San Jose’s lead to just six points as FB Michael Simons recovered an offensive fumble in the end zone for the score.
San Jose would add to its lead on its next drive, as Michna hooked up with Willis for their second score of the night. Orlando quickly responded with a one-play series, as Boltus hit Carr from 11-yards out to narrow the deficit, 35-29.
With just under a minute remaining in the half, disaster struck for the Predators on three consecutive drives. As the clock ticked down to 35 seconds, Micha completed an 11-yard pass to the end zone to WR Dominique Curry for the score. On the ensuing kickoff, Orlando DB Tanner Varner fielded the ball cleanly off the net, but was immediately stripped by Curry during the return. Curry managed to jar the ball loose and returned the fumble three yards to the end zone for a 49-29 advantage.
Four plays into the ensuing Predators drive, QB Jason Boltus suffered a lower body injury that would keep him on the bench for the remainder of the night. QB Wilson Masoud stepped into the lineup in relief of Boltus, but the offense was never able to get into rhythm as Orlando was outscored in the second half, 21-6.
Boltus finished his early night completing 12-of-19 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Masoud managed to hit on 11-of-20 attempts, gaining 122 yards through the air with one score. WR Greg Carr led all receivers with 143 yards and three touchdowns on 11 receptions, while WR Khalil Paden delivered seven catches for 125 yards and another score.
Orlando remains atop the American Conference’s South Division, holding first place over the Tampa Bay Storm (3-5), Jacksonville Sharks (2-5), and New Orleans VooDoo (1-5). The Predators head into a bye week before returning to action to face Jacksonville on the road on Saturday, May 17th.
The Orlando Predators are heading into their 23rd season as Orlando’s most exciting and innovative professional sports franchise. Proud members of the Arena Football League, the Predators have achieved unprecedented success on the field, reaching the AFL postseason a league-leading 19 times in their history. The Orlando Predators have advanced to the AFL playoffs a league-leading 19 times in their history while securing seven conference championships, including two ArenaBowl Championship victories in 1998 and 2000.