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Offense stalls as Preds fall to Arizona Rattlers, 55-35

Saturday June 20, 2015

 Predators Drop to 7-6 with Loss to Defending Champions

 

PHOENIX – June 20, 2015 – Turnovers plagued the offense throughout the night as the Orlando Predators (7-6) dropped a 55-35 decision to the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) on the road in front of a crowd of 11,673 at U.S. Airways Arena in Phoenix.

 

The Predators offense committed seven turnovers on the night, including five turnovers on downs. QB Bernard Morris completed 20-of-40 pass attempts while throwing for 285 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, adding eight yards and another score on the ground. WR Larry Brackins hauled in a game-high 11 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while WR Brandon Thompkins snared four receptions for 83 yards and another score.

 

Defensively, Orlando managed to stop the Rattlers on four possessions, forcing one fumble while denying Arizona on three fourth-down attempts. DB Emanuel Cook paced all defenders with 11.5 total tackles while DL Austin Brown contributed 1.5 tackles with one forced fumble and one blocked kick.

 

Orlando drove down field during the game’s opening series, reaching the red zone with a 31-yard reception by WR Larry Brackins. However, the offense was unable to capitalize on the big play and turned the ball over on downs after FB Michael Simons was stopped just short of the end zone on 4th-&-Goal. Arizona would take a 7-0 lead off a six-yard touchdown reception by WR Kerry Reed.

 

Orlando regained possession and tied the contest as Morris lofted a six-yard touchdown pass to Brackins in the left corner of the end zone. Predators DB Rod Issac recovered a fumble after Austin Brown stripped Rattlers WR AJ Cruz on the ensuing drive, but Orlando would turn the ball over on downs again following four-straight incompletions. Arizona took a 14-7 lead off a two-yard touchdown run by FB Mykel Benson.

 

The Predators offense stalled again on its next series, turning the ball over on downs on its own two-yard line. The Rattlers built a 21-7 advantage on the next play from scrimmage off a two-yard touchdown reception by Cruz.

 

The offense stopped its scoring drought a series later as Morris fired a 15-yard touchdown strike to Brackins to cap a three-play, 35-yard drive. The Predators defense would stop the Rattlers shy of the end zone on 4th-&-Goal as time expired in the second quarter, leaving Orlando trailing 21-14 at the midway point.

 

Arizona added to its lead at the start of the third quarter as Davila connected with Reed on a two-yard touchdown for a 28-14 advantage. Morris was intercepted in the in end zone by Rattlers DB Jeremy Kellem on the ensuing Predators drive and the Rattlers would score off a 32-yard pass from Davila to WR Rod Windsor. Austin Brown broke through the interior and blocked the PAT attempt for the Predators, leaving Orlando at a 34-14 deficit midway through the third quarter.

 

The Predators turned the ball over again on its next possession as Morris completed a long pass to WR Larry Brackins, who was stripped on the play while fighting for extra yardage. Arizona recovered the loose ball, but Orlando’s defense tightened on the ensuing series as DB Nick Taylor batted down a pass to the end zone on fourth down. Morris converted the turnover into points on the following series, crossing the goal line on a five-yard run to decrease Arizona’s lead, 34-21.

 

Arizona gained a short field after recovering an onside kick attempt by the Predators and found the end zone two plays later off a three-yard pass from Davila to Windsor, leaving Orlando trailing 41-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

 

Orlando reached the red zone on its next series, but the offense was unable to capitalize as the drive ended in an incompletion on fourth down. The Predators defense responded by halting the Rattlers on the 10-yard line after denying Davila’s pass attempt on fourth down. The Predators converted the turnover into points using some trickery, as Morris took the snap and gave it to WR Brandon Thompkins in the backfield, who lofted a three-yard touchdown pass to WR Greg Carr to decrease Arizona’s lead, 41-28.

 

Arizona recovered Orlando’s onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff and converted the short field into a five-yard touchdown run by Cruz, resulting in a 48-28 lead for the Rattlers. Orlando committed another turnover as Morris was sacked on fourth down and Arizona gained a 55-28 lead off a three-yard touchdown pass from Davila to Cruz.

 

On the next play from scrimmage, Morris completed a pass over the middle to Brandon Thompkins, who broke through multiple tackles while spinning into the end zone for a 36-yard score. Arizona would run out the clock on the ensuing possession, ending the game with a final score of 55-35.

 

The Predators will look to regroup in Week 14 as the team returns to the Amway Center on Saturday, June 27 to take on the New Orleans VooDoo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm EST. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 407-355-2200 or online at OrlandoPredators.com. 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

Arizona QB Nick Davila

 

RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Arizona DL Michael McAdoo

 

J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME

Arizona WR AJ Cruz

 

CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME

32-yard touchdown reception by Arizona WR Rod Windsor (Q3 | 9:02)

 

AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME

5-yard touchdown run by Arizona WR AJ Cruz (Q4 | 2:35)

 

Photo Credits: Matt Hinshaw

 

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.