Predators Fall Short In Opener
Kent, WA: Playing in their first game in team history, the Kent Predators had the defending IFL Champion Billings Outlaws on their heals for much of the first half. However, their inexperience began to show after the second half kickoff and they eventually fell 56-40 in front of over 6,000 fans at the Rimrock Auto Arena.
The Predators began the game by silencing the home crowd still excited after a pre-game ring ceremony to honor the 2009 United Bowl Champions. After converting a long 4th down conversion on the drive, and marching the team down field, Quarterback Charles McCullum handed the ball off to Carlo Heard from the Outlaws 2 yard line for the first touchdown in team history. It only took the Outlaws one play to answer back however, as 2009 IFL Player of the Year Chris Dixon found Receiver James Walton for a 43 yard touchdown strike and get within one point.
After going down 13-7, McCullum again drove down the length of the field and found receiver Eric Taylor for a four yard strike in the corner endzone to knot the score at 13. Then, after a rare stop of the explosive Outlaws offense, Kent once again took the lead as McCullum launched a bomb from his own 1 yard line that was hauled in for a 49 yard score by Andre Jordan.
From that point on, penalties were the theme of the game. The defense continually gave Billings second chances and the offense put themselves in unmanageable situations. In all, over 20 penalties were called on the expansion franchise, playing in their opening game. At half, they were down 28-20.
In a tale of two halves, the experience factor came into play and the Outlaws dominated in mid-season fashion. They scored another 28 points and the Predators could not answer. After the final whistle, the scoreboard read 56-40 and the first game in Kent's inaugural season was in the books. Look for Coach McCarthy to use this week to correct the team's penalty issues, and to adjust on some matchup problems that were evident in the game's final 30 minutes. The team gets back to work on Monday night, March 8th when they hit the road once more to take on the Alaska Wild in Anchorage. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 Alaskan Standard time, 8:05 PST. Tickets are still available for the teams home opener against the Fairbanks Grizzlies on Friday, March 12th. Fans can purchase their tickets by logging on to www.kentpredators.com or by calling the team's office at 253-239-3254.
Game Notes: McCullum threw for three scores and ran for another...Outlaws DB Kdafi Tunsil intercepted two passes and Linebacker Mike Bazemore recorded 3 sacks...WR Ulysses Odom caught three TD passes and ran for another for the Outlaws...A total of six personal fouls were called in the game...Predators Offensive Linemen Ma'ake Pole' was ejected in the second half...Return man Jarvious Dunn had kickoff returns of 45, 35, and 32 in the game.
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