Predators Burn through Barnstormers, 66-33
Tuesday July 15, 2014
ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Predators (9-7) shook a two-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, pummeling the Iowa Barnstormers (6-10) in front of a crowd of 5,036 at CFE Arena, 66-33. Bernard Morris returned to the starting lineup and put forth a brilliant performance, scoring nine total touchdowns on the evening.
Morris threw for 232 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 46 yards and another score on the ground. WR Greg Carr hauled in six catches for 57 yards and four touchdowns, while WR Khalil Paden registered 113 yards and two scores on five catches. WR Larry Brackins was also in the receiving mix, posting 40 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.
While the offense lit up the scoreboard with its highest output of points since Week 6, the story of the game was Orlando’s defense. The unit delivered seven turnovers on the night, including five interceptions. Tracy Belton notched two picks in the game, but every member of the secondary contributed to the effort as Tanner Varner, Eddie Moten, and Anthony Shutt each registered an interception. Once considered a question mark for the Predators, Orlando’s defense has quickly become a point of the strength. Quietly, the group has surrendered an average of just 39.4 points per game over its last five contests.
Orlando jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter, scoring on a three-yard touchdown reception by Greg Carr and an 11-yard field goal by Mark Lewis. The Predators defense held the Barnstormers to four-and-out during Iowa’s sole first quarter possession, shutting out the opponent early in the game.
The Barnstormers opened the second quarter with a 12-yard touchdown catch by WR Marco Thomas, but Orlando needed just one play to respond as Morris launched a 26-yard score to Khalil Paden. Orlando found the end zone again off a 13-yard touchdown grab by Larry Brackins after the defense forced Iowa to turn the ball over on downs on just five plays. The Barnstormers managed to score twice before the half was over, getting two touchdown catches from WR Darius Reynolds. But Orlando would match the scores with two touchdown drives of its own, including the final score before the end of the half. Morris rushed right over the goal line for a four-yard score and connected with Brackins on another 13-yard touchdown completion to give the Predators a 38-20 lead at the midway point.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third frame, Iowa found the end zone off a 29-yard reception by Reynolds. However, the score would be Iowa’s only points of the quarter, as Tracy Belton posted back-to-back interceptions on consecutive drives. Meanwhile, Orlando’s offense proceeded to score three touchdowns on just six plays. Greg Carr notched two touchdown grabs and Khalil Paden turned a short reception into a 38-yard score to build a 59-27 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Carr would add his final score in the fourth period, hauling in a 12-yard pass from Morris. The defense closed out the victory, denying the Barnstormers on three consecutive possessions by way of three interceptions. The 66-33 win marks Orlando’s largest margin of victory during the 2014 season.
The Orlando Predators travel to take on the New Orleans VooDoo on Saturday, July 19th. Kickoff from the Smoothie King Center is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EST. With a victory in Week 19, Orlando will clinch the South Division.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
QB Bernard Morris (Orlando)
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tracy Belton (Orlando)
J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
WR Khalil Paden (Orlando)
ABOUT THE ORLANDO PREDATORS
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. Orlando has 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.