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Predators topple New Orleans VooDoo 56-43

Saturday June 27, 2015

 QB Randy Hippeard Scores Eight Touchdowns in Return

 

ORLANDO – June 27, 2015 – The Orlando Predators (8-6) earned a 56-43 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo (2-11) in front of an Amway Center crowd of 10,536 on Saturday evening. After missing the past seven games due to injury, quarterback Randy Hippeard returned to the starting lineup directed a Predators offense that was nearly flawless.

 

Hippeard completed 25-of-31 attempts (80.6%) while throwing for 285 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception that came off a dropped pass. Wide receiver Larry Brackins caught five passes on the night, but made them all count as he scored five touchdowns with 36 yards receiving. Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins snared seven balls for a game-high 112 yards and two scores, while receiver LaMark Brown added 88 yards and another touchdown on seven receptions.

 

The two teams traded scores throughout the first quarter, ending the opening stanza in a 14-14 draw. The Predators got on the board first as Hippeard connected with Brackins on a three-yard touchdown pass. New Orleans evened the score on its first possession as quarterback Adam Kennedy completed a 10-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Chris Duvalt.

 

Hippeard marched the offense down the field to regain the lead a series later, hitting on five consecutive pass attempts, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to LaMark Brown. The VooDoo would tie the game on their next drive as Kennedy rushed for a three-yard score.

 

Orlando would retake the lead moments into the second quarter and wouldn’t surrender it again. On the second snap of the quarter, Brandon Thompkins hauled in a pass and raced 40 yards to the end zone, side-stepping multiple defenders before diving over the goal line to put Orlando ahead, 21-14.

 

The Predators defense protected the lead on the next drive, forcing New Orleans to settle for a 32-yard field goal after nose guard Austin Brown broke through the interior and sacked Kennedy on third down.

 

Hippeard then connected with Brackins on an eight-yard touchdown pass as Orlando used a four-play, 42-yard drive to add to its lead, 28-17. The Predators regained possession with under a minute remaining in the half after denying New Orleans on fourth down, but the resulting drive ended in an interception after Hippeard’s pass bounced out of the hands of a receiver and into the arms of VooDoo defensive back Cortez Stubbs. New Orleans would score on the resulting drive off an 18-yard run by fullback Roosevelt Falls, but a missed PAT gave the Predators a 28-23 advantage at the midway point.

 

Orlando proceeded to mount a three-score advantage off a 14-0 third quarter effort. Predators’ defensive back Arness Ikner halted the opening drive by the VooDoo as he intercepted a fourth-down pass attempt by Kennedy. Hippeard then converted the turnover into points, lofting a 14-yard touchdown pass to Thompkins to take a 34-23 lead.

 

The Predators defense again stifled the VooDoo a series later, forcing a turnover on downs after four plays. Hippeard connected with Brackins for a nine-yard score on the resulting drive to take a 42-23 lead into the fourth quarter.


New Orleans ended its scoring drought midway through the final period as Kennedy rushed for a two-yard touchdown, but another missed PAT resulted in a 49-29 lead for Orlando. Hippeard would hit Brackins again on a nine-yard touchdown a series later to go ahead, 49-29.

 

The VooDoo found the end zone off a trick play on its next possession as Kennedy pitched the ball back to wide receiver Charlie McClain, who then tossed a two-yard touchdown to wide receiver Roger Jackson. Brackins would respond with his fifth and final reception of the night, hauling in a seven-yard touchdown pass to put Orlando on top, 56-36. New Orleans wide receiver Johnny Lester caught a two-yard score from Kennedy with 13 seconds remaining and the Predators would run out the clock on their final possession to seal the 56-43 victory.

 

The Predators head into a bye week in Week 15 before returning to action on Saturday, July 11th when the team travels to take on the Tampa Bay Storm. For all the latest news and updates, visit OrlandoPredators.com and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

POST-GAME AWARDS

 

RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Orlando QB Randy Hippeard

 

RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Orlando DL Austin Brown

 

J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME

Orlando WR Larry Brackins

 

CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME

Over-the-wall touchdown reception by Orlando WR Larry Brackins (Q3 | 1:23)

 

AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME

40-yard touchdown reception by Orlando WR Brandon Thompkins (Q2 | 14:26)

 

 

POST-GAME QUOTES

Head Coach Rob Keefe

On the game:

“It’s a gift and a curse. I’m proud that we won but at the same time I want to win by more. That was the longest that I’ve ever had a season without having a bye week. That’s 14 straight weeks without an off week. Very proud of the guys to get a win and be in the top of the South Division going into our rivalry [with Tampa Bay].”

 

On Larry Brackins:

“We wanted to make sure that Brackins is effective, and we kept him out of the field to keep him as healthy and fresh as possible. When we came into the red zone, he was going to dominate.”

 

 

On Randy Hippeard and Bernard Morris:

“Randy and Bernard are both very talented people, we want to make sure we play the right guy. We had to see what Randy could do having 6 to 7 weeks off, it was a big deal for him. These guys are very supportive of each other. Competition breeds success on all levels.”

 

In closing:

“We’ve managed the storm, we’ve got to 8-6 going into the bye week, first in the south division, a game up on everybody, we have to make sure that we hold that lead with the right people coming off the bye.”

 

Quarterback Randy Hippeard

On the win:

“We said it from the very first day of camp, we’ve got two AFL teams here. With that much talent and that many guys who can play on a high level, one guy goes down and it’s the next man up.”

 

On returning to play after 7 weeks off:

“It was nice to get back out there, just to get back in the huddle and to go out there and make some plays. I was a little anxious at first to get started, but after the first 2 or 3 plays we got into a rhythm offensively and put the ball into the end zone.”

 

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.