Predators Win South Division Title in Thrilling Overtime Victory over VooDoo, 70-64
Sunday July 20, 2014
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Orlando Predators (10-7) earned a dramatic 70-64 overtime victory over the New Orleans VooDoo (3-14) on Saturday evening to clinch the franchise’s first South Division title since 2006. The victory locks in Orlando as the No. 2 seed in the American Conference, as the franchise will host the No. 3 seeded Pittsburgh Power in the first round of the postseason.
After ending regulation with the game tied 64-64, New Orleans received possession to start the overtime period. Three snaps into the opening drive, QB Adam Kennedy dropped back and heaved a deep pass to the end zone, only to have it intercepted by an unlikely hero for the Predators. Orlando WR Greg Carr was forced into action on defense after player ejections left the Predators shorthanded in the secondary. Carr managed to use his towering frame to make a leaping interception before streaking up field for a 48-yard game winning touchdown.
For the second-consecutive week, QB Bernard Morris found the end zone nine total times. Morris threw for 290 yards and six touchdowns while adding 63 yards and three scores on the ground. WR Kendal Thompkins collected 109 yards with two scores on eight receptions, while WR Larry Brackins hauled in seven passes for 72 yards and three scores.
The two teams traded scores to open the game, but a missed field goal left the Predators with a 7-6 advantage. Kennedy connected with WR Larry Beavers from 11 yards out for New Orleans while Morris found Brackins for a 16-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Beavers was stripped by LB Tanner Varner and DL Michael Janac recovered for the Predators. Morris converted the turnover into points off a one-yard quarterback sneak, giving Orlando a 14-6 lead at the end of the first.
On the first play of the second quarter, Kennedy would match the score with a one-yard run of his own, but DL Ko Quaye managed to block the PAT attempt to keep the Predators ahead, 14-12. A series later, Morris capped off a five-play, 34-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. New Orleans answered with a six-yard touchdown catch by Beavers, but the Predators would strike again quickly as Morris fired a 14-yard score to Thompkins to complete a two-play drive.
On the following drive, Kennedy hooked up with WR Antonio Robinson on a 25-yard score. However, the Predators offense responded with a methodical five-play 21-yard drive. With just 14 seconds remaining on the clock, Morris lofted a 14-yard touchdown pass to Brackins to give Orlando a 35-26 advantage at the midway point.
Orlando received to open the third quarter and add to its lead, as Morris hooked up with Brackins for a third time. WR Courtney Smith caught a three-yard touchdown on the following New Orleans drive. The Predators regained possession, but Morris was intercepted on a pass over the middle and Carlese Franklin scored from 20 yards out to tie the game, 41-41. However, DL Ko Quaye came up big on the PAT attempt, as he blocked the kick and returned it for a score to retain the lead at the end of the third, 43-41.
Two plays into the fourth quarter, Morris faked the run left and passed back to his tight end Terrence Campbell for a two-yard touchdown. New Orleans immediately answered the score with a 57-yard kickoff return by Larry Beavers, but Bernard Morris would silence the crowd on the first play of the ensuing drive, as he scrambled for a 42-yard touchdown run.
Adam Kennedy fumbled the snap on the center exchange during the VooDoo’s next drive and DL Earl Okine recovered the loose ball for the Predators. Morris converted the recovery into points, tossing a 16-yard touchdown to Kendal Thompkins for a 64-48 advantage. New Orleans posted two answered scores in the final minutes of the game due to a missed field goal by the Predators.
The Orlando Predators return to CFE Arena on Saturday, July 26th to take on the defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers
. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 844-455-PRED!
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.