Predators Rout Portland Thunder for Second Straight Win 69-43
Saturday May 23, 2015
Morris Scores Eight Touchdowns as Preds Register a Season-High 69 Points
The Predators offense put forth its highest scoring total of the season behind QB Bernard Morris, who turned in eight total touchdowns as he threw for 221 yards and six scores on 16-of-23 passing while adding 16 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. WR Brandon Thompkins hauled in seven passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns, but the all-purpose threat also made his presence felt on special teams. Thompkins gained 106 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 58-yarder returned for a touchdown.
Orlando forced four turnovers behind a resurgent defensive unit. DB Emanuel Cook registered 6.5 total tackles with three pass breakups while delivering his second interception of the season. DL Jeremy Geathers notched a seven-yard strip sack and posted a 22-yard touchdown on the fumble recovery. Playing in his first game for Orlando, DB Rod Issac added a game-high 11.5 total tackles.
QB Darron Thomas found WR Duane Brooks from eight yards out during the game’s opening possession, but a missed PAT would hold Portland to an early 6-0 advantage. Moments later, Brandon Thompkins put the Predators ahead by returning the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
On the first snap of the following Thunder drive, DL Jeremy Geathers worked his way into the backfield before reaching out and stripping the ball out of the grasp of Thomas. Geathers recovered the loose ball and went rumbling 22 yards into the end zone for another Predators score to build a 14-6 lead.
Thomas completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to WR V’Keon Lacey on Portland’s next drive, but another unsuccessful PAT kept the Predators ahead 14-12. Orlando regained possession and needed just three plays to find the end zone, as Brandon Thompkins hauled in a short screen pass and side-stepped a would-be tackler before sprinting up the left sideline for a 22-yard touchdown.
Thomas lofted a seven-yard score over the middle to OL Jeraill McCuller to complete a 10-play drive on Portland’s next possession, cutting Orlando’s lead, 21-19. The Predators would turn the ball over on downs during its next series, but the defense promptly answered the call by forcing a turnover of its own. Orlando held the Thunder to four-and-out to regain possession after denying a fourth-down pass attempt by backup QB Kyle Rowley, who entered the game after Thomas sustained an injury on the drive. Bernard Morris capitalized on the turnover four plays later as scrambled out of the pocket and rushed nine yards to the end zone to give the Predators a 28-19 lead at the one-minute warning.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mark Lewis popped up a perfect onside attempt that went bouncing into the arms of Predators DL Calvin Fance, who returned the loose ball 20 yards before being tackled 11 yards shy of the goal line. Morris converted the recovery into points two plays later as he fired an eight-yard strike to Brandon Thompkins to give Orlando a 35-19 lead with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Portland scored quick off a 10-yard pass from Rowley to V’Keon Lacey, but managed only six points on the drive as DL Meshak Williams blocked the PAT attempt. Orlando regained possession with just 26 seconds remaining and Morris lofted a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Julian Williams to give the Predators a 42-25 advantage at halftime.
Orlando received the kickoff to start the third quarter and needed only two plays to add to the lead, as Morris tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass over the top of the defense to Thompkins to make it 48-25. Five plays into Portland’s first series of the half, DB Emanuel Cook made a diving interception to force the turnover and regain possession. Morris converted the turnover into points following a lengthy 10-play drive, firing a 16-yard touchdown pass to WR LaMark Brown for a 55-25 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Portland got back on the board early in the fourth quarter as Rowley found WR Jared Perry on a nine-yard touchdown pass. The Predators recovered an onside kick attempt by the Thunder and Morris took advantage of the short field, punching the ball over the goal line on a one-yard touchdown run to take a 62-31 lead.
The Thunder earned another score off a trick play later in the fourth, as Rowley pitched the ball on a reverse to Perry, who threw to Brooks for a two-yard score. Morris responded with his sixth touchdown pass of the night, hooking up with Julian Williams on a 20-yard score for a 69-37 advantage. Rowley connected with Perry for Portland’s final score of the night and the Predators would run out the clock to seal the victory, 69-43.
The Orlando Predators travel in Week 10 to take on the Cleveland Gladiators on . For all the latest news and updates, visit OrlandoPredators.com and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Orlando WR Brandon Thompkins
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Orlando DL Jeremy Geathers
J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Orlando WR Brandon Thompkins
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
28-yard touchdown reception by Orlando WR Julian Williams (Q2 | )
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Strip-sack fumble recovered for a touchdown by Orlando DL Jeremy Geathers (Q1 | )
ABOUT THE ORLANDO PREDATORS
The 2014 South Division Champion Orlando Predators enters its 24th season as Central Florida’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 22 times in their history while securing seven conference championships, including two ArenaBowl Championship victories in 1998 and 2000.