The Orlando Predators beat the Spokane Shock 83-82 in one of the highest scoring games in Arena Football League history on Saturday.
Orlando (2-5) came into Spokane riding high after their first win of the season in Pittsburgh, and dropped the Shock (5-3) on a last second touchdown pass from future Hall of Famer Aaron Garcia.
Unlike last week in Pittsburgh, the first quarter was an explosive one, with both teams trying to get out of the gates rolling. Once again, the Predator’s opponents strike first on a 7-yard pass from Spokane QB Erik Meyer and the Shock take the lead 7-0. Orlando responded quickly, with Maurice Williams returning a 56-yard kickoff for a touchdown; which tied the score 7-7.
Orlando decided that after that score, it was time to take a risk and tried an onside kick. In an unlucky turn of events for the Predators, Spokane recovered and returned the short kick for an 11-yard touchdown, after missing the extra point attempt the score stood at 13-7. Spokane took advantage of a confused offensive line for the Predators to put pressure on Aaron Garcia on the next drive, which led to a fumble. Meyer, once again led Spokane down the field to take the lead 20-7. Orlando and Spokane would trade touchdowns at the end of the quarter and at the end of an explosive first quarter the score stood at 27-13 with the Shock having the lead.
Both teams came into the second quarter ready to pick up where they left off in the first, Aaron Garcia led off the quarter with an impressive 20-yard pass to Jason Geathers in the endzone, to bring the Predators within 7, 27-20. On the ensuing kickoff, the Shock would return their second kickoff for a touchdown. However, the Garcia would once again step up with a 32-yard pass to T.T. Toliver and keep Orlando in the game 34-27. Spokane would turn up the heat and score two straight touchdowns, one on a fumble in the endzone and go up by 3 touchdowns 48-27. The teams would continue to trade touchdowns for the rest of the quarter and the high scoring first half would come to a close with Spokane still up by 21, 62-41.
After being shut down in the 3rd, the Shock came out in the fourth and quickly scored on a four yard pass to Adron Tennell. Orlando wanted to respond, and Aaron Garcia came up once again with a 41-yard pass to Mauri Williams on the first play of the drive. Spokane’s offence seemed to revive, however Aaron Garcia did not falter either, and the track meet that was began in the first half was continued in the fourth quarter. After trading scores again, the Predators went for a two point conversion and made it count to cut the lead to a single touchdown with 7:05 left in the game. Spokane would respond once again and make it a 13 point lead on Meyer’s seventh passing touchdown of the game.
Orlando would fail to convert on a 4th down with less than one minute in the game, but would come up with an interception to get back in the game, and after Garcia throws his tenth touchdown of the game, the Predators cut the lead to six. Travis Goldman would recover an onside kick for the Predators with 28 seconds remaining in the game and Garcia, led the team down the field and Orlando took the lead for the first and final time in the game with 5.7 seconds left in the game, 83-82. Garcia, the EDC player of the game, threw for 441 yards and 11 touchdown passes in the game.