After losing five straight games to start their season, the Orlando Predators added one to the win column Friday night. The Predators defeated the Georgia Force, 27-24, winning their first game of the season.
The first quarter of the game started out with offensive splash by the Predators. On their first possession, quarterback Justin Roper lead the offense down the field and ended the drive with a rushing touchdown, giving the Preds an early 7-0 lead. The Force answered on their first drive with a score, a touchdown pass from quarterback RJ Archer to wide receiver Larry Shipp.
After consecutive defensive stops by both teams to end the first quarter, the Predators opened up with a score to start the second quarter, a touchdown pass from Roper to Dwayne Eley, Jr. The score gave the Predators the lead, 14-7. After a Roper interception, Force wide receiver Michael James fumbled the ball and it was recovered by linebacker Marlon Moye-Moore. The Preds capitalized on the turnover with a field goal by Mark Lewis, extending their lead 17-7. On the Force’s next possession, they were stopped by the Predators defense as the clock expired going into halftime.
The Force opened the second half of the game with the ball and scored on a touchdown pass from Archer to wide receiver Brandon McRae. The score cut the Predator lead down to three, 17-14. The Predators answered on their next possession with a score, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Roper to Eley, Jr., making the score 24-14. On the Force’s next possession, they added a field goal, cutting the Predators lead down to seven. After consecutive defensive stops for both teams, the third quarter ended with the Predators leading 24-17.
In the fourth quarter, the Predators had possession first and Roper threw a pass that was intercepted by Force defensive back Tracy Belton. Georgia capitalized on the turnover with a long rushing touchdown by Force full back Mykell Benson. The scored tied the game, 24-24. After a defensive stop, the Force had a drive and missed a field goal, giving the Predators a chance to score with under a minute to play. With 40 seconds left in the game, Preds kicker Mark Lewis drilled a 35-yard field goal to take the lead, 27-24. With six seconds left to play, the Force attempted a field goal and missed it, resulting in the Predators first win of the season.
The Predators were led statistically by quarterback Justin Roper. Roper was 16 of 34, threw for 173 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Dwayne Eley, Jr. received the bulk of the receptions in the game. Eley, Jr. caught seven receptions for 69 yards, and two touchdowns.
The Preds were led defensively by defensive backs Travis Coleman and Justin Hannah. Coleman had six total tackles and a fumble recovery, and Hannah had eight total tackles in his first game in a Predators uniform.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: WR Dwayne Eley, Jr.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Force DB Tracy Belton
National Guard MVP: Force WR Larry Shipp
Up next the Predators will return to The Jungle for another home game to face the American Conference Leading Philadelphia Soul on Saturday, April 28. Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. EST