Predators Fall to Arizona Rattlers, 62-45
The Orlando Predators (12-3) dropped a 62-45 decision to the Arizona Rattlers (12- 3) on the road Monday night. Despite the loss, the Predators split the season series with the Rattlers and now own the tiebreaker over Arizona due to point differential in head-to-head games. The Predators can clinch the top seed and home field advantage throughout the postseason with a victory over the Philadelphia Soul on July 30.
QB Bernard Morris scored six total touchdowns as he completed 25-of-40 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns while adding 57 yards and two more scores on the ground. Brandon Thompkins hauled in a game- high 12 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while Larry Brackins and LaMark Brown each added scoring receptions of their own.
Morris threw two first quarter touchdown passes to give the Predators an early 14-13 lead. Arizona WR Rod Windsor caught a six-yard score on the opening drive, but a missed PAT allowed Orlando to take a 7-6 lead on an 11-yard touchdown reception by Brackins. WR Chase Deadder caught a three-yard score for the Rattlers a series later and Orlando would respond as Thompkins snared a nine-yard touchdown pass to give the Predators the lead as time expired in the quarter.
Orlando's only drive in the second quarter resulted in an interception and the Rattlers managed to build a 27-14 advantage at halftime after Windsor caught a five-yard touchdown and scored on a one-yard run.
The Predators responded on the opening drive of the third as WR LaMark Brown spun out of a tackle on his way to an 11-yard touchdown. Windsor caught an 11-yard score on the ensuing series for the Rattlers, but Bernard Morris answered in dramatic fashion as he scrambled out of the pocket and raced 36 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit, 34-28.
Arizona would score on a nine-yard reception by FB Mykel Benson before Brandon Thompkins scored on a short pass with an electric 40-yard run after the catch to make it a one-score game in the fourth quarter, 41-35.
Two unanswered scores in the final frame by the Rattlers put the Predators in a 55-35 hole. Davila found WR Maurice Purify on a 30-yard touchdown throw and Arizona would recover a fumble on the ensuing kickoff before scoring on a two-yard run by Benson. Morris responded with an eight-yard touchdown run but Arizona would push the lead to 62-42 with a 19-yard scoring reception by WR Anthony Amos.
Needing to keep the loss under 18 points in order to maintain the tiebreaker, the Predators set up a field goal with five seconds on the clock and Mark Lewis successfully booted the kick to clinch the tiebreaker.
The Predators have a bye week in Week 17 before closing out the season at home against the Philadelphia Soul (12-3) on Saturday, July 30.
UNDER ARMOUR OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Arizona QB Nick Davila
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Arizona DB Jeremy Kellem
J.LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME: Arizona FB Mykel Benson
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME: 40-yard touchdown reception by Arizona WR Maurice Purify (Q4 | 9:35)
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME: Interception by Arizona DB Jeremy Kellem (Q2 | 2:24)
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total Orlando Predators 14 0 14 17 45 Arizona Rattlers 13 14 14 21 62
1st Quarter AZ - Windsor 6 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick failed) 12:23. ORL - Brackins 11 yd pass from Morris (Lewis kick) 5:41. AZ - Deadder 3 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick) 2:57. ORL - Thompkins 9 yd pass from Morris (Lewis kick) 0:00.
2nd Quarter AZ - Windsor 5 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick) 9:30. AZ - Windsor 1 yd run (Zendejas kick) 0:05.
3rd Quarter ORL - Brown 11 yd pass from Morris (Lewis kick) 10:47. AZ - Windsor 11 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick) 6:25. ORL - Morris 36 yd run (Lewis kick) 4:19.
4th Quarter ORL - Thompkins 40 yd pass from Morris (Lewis kick) 14:12. AZ - Purify 30 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick) 9:35. AZ - Benson 2 yd run (Zendejas kick) 7:58. ORL - Morris 8 yd run (Lewis kick) 4:14. AZ - Amos 19 yd pass from Davila (Zendejas kick) 3:30. ORL - Lewis 18 yd field goal 0:05.
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