Predators Close Out Regular Season with 56-50 Victory over Arizona
Saturday July 26, 2014
ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Predators (11-7) made a statement in the team’s regular season finale, earning a spectacular 56-50 victory over the defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers (15-3) in front of a sold out crowd of 8,550 at CFE Arena on Saturday evening. The win marks just the second time in the last 11 seasons the Predators have finished the regular season with 11 or more victories.
Trailing 50-48 late in the fourth quarter, QB Bernard Morris dropped back to pass lofted a completion over the middle to WR Larry Brackins. With the reception secured, Brackins eluded defenders and cut back across the field before barreling through defenders on his way to a 30-yard touchdown. Orlando successfully recovered an onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to run out the clock to seal the win.
Morris finished the night throwing for 284 yards and six touchdowns while adding 28 yards and another score on the ground. Brackins hauled in seven passes for 104 yards and three scores, while WR Khalil Paden led all receivers with 137 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.
The offense fired out of the gates with a quick score as WR Khalil Paden beat a defender deep for a 42-yard touchdown reception on the second play from scrimmage. Arizona QB Nick Davila connected with WR Tysson Poots on two first quarter scores, but Orlando managed to build a 21-14 lead at the conclusion of the opening stanza. Bernard Morris carried the ball for a one-yard score and tossed a pass over the middle to Brackins, who secured the catch and raced 24 yards up the middle of the field for the touchdown.
Arizona regained possession to start the second quarter and managed to drive the ball to the goal line before Orlando’s defense swiftly halted the series. Facing 1st-&-Goal, Davila attempt to take a shot to the end zone, but had the pass deflected at the line of scrimmage. The loose ball bounced off the nets and newly-acquired Predators DL Meshak Williams came down with the rebound to complete the interception. Morris swiftly converted the turnover into points, as he launched a 41-yard touchdown pass to Khalil Paden. Davila found WR Rod Windsor on a 23-yard score on the following drive, but WR Larry Brackins took another short completion and turned it into a 27-yard touchdown. Arizona managed to score on a two-yard throw at the end of the quarter, give Orlando a 35-28 advantage at the midway point.
The Rattlers tied the game 35-35 at the start of the third quarter, as Davila found WR Kerry Reed from 11 yards out. Orlando would respond by building a two-score lead, beginning with a touchdown reception by WR Kendal Thompkins, who broke through a tackle before sprinting 21 yards to the end zone. Two plays later, DB Tracy Belton picked off a pass attempt by Davila and raced up the right sideline for a 15-yard score to put Orlando ahead, 48-35.
Arizona would rally from that point, posting four unanswered scores to take a 50-48 lead before Brackins put Orlando up for good.
With the regular season coming to a close, Orlando shifts its focus to the postseason. As the South Division Champions, the second-seeded Predators will host the third-seeded Pittsburgh Power
on Sunday, August 3rd at 2:00 pm in the opening round of the American Conference playoffs. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 844-455-PRED (844-455-7733)!
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
QB Bernard Morris (Orlando)
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
DB Tracy Belton (Orlando)
J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
WR Larry Brackins (Orlando)
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
WR Khalil Paden’s (Orlando) 42-yard touchdown reception (13:46, 1st Quarter)
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
WR Larry Brackins’ (Orlando) 30-yard touchdown reception (0:42, 4th Quarter)
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.