Predators now 5-0 after 76-56 win over Cleveland Gladiators

Preds remain undefeated after latest win

Randy Hippeard (Credit: John Saraya)
Randy Hippeard (Credit: John Saraya) (John Saraya)

CLEVELAND – The Orlando Predators are now 5-0 after a 76-56 win Friday against the Cleveland Gladiators.

The team rallied with three unanswered scores in the fourth quarter to stay undefeated.

Brandon Thompkins racked up seven total touchdowns, posting nine catches for 123 yards and five scores. The team said he added a 2-yard touchdown run and also scored on a 56-yard kickoff return.

Randy Hippeard completed 22 of 34 attempts for 322 yards and 7 touchdowns while adding a 1-yard score on the ground, according to the Predators. Kendal Thompkins contributed six receptions for 147 yards, including a 45-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

Orlando had trailed Cleveland 56-55 entering the fourth quarter. The team took a 62-56 lead on the opening series of the final frame, as Hippeard faked the run before flipping a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan McCray, the team said.

On the ensuing Cleveland drive, Arvell Nelson fumbled on a pass attempt and Calvin Fance dove on the loose football for Orlando. Team officials said Orlando quickly converted the turnover into points as Hippeard tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Thompkins for 69-56 advantage.

Cleveland regained possession, but Nelson was picked off on the second play of the series by Varmah Sonie, who made a leaping catch to secure his league-leading fifth interception of the season, according to the Preds. Orlando milked the clock before Hippeard punched it in from a yard out on a QB sneak for the game's final score, 76-56.

The night was historic for veteran Predators kicker Mark Lewis, who booted 10 PATs in the game to surpass Remy Hamilton (1,091) for the most in Arena Football League history, according to the Orlando Predators. Lewis has made 1,100 PATs in his career.

The Orlando Predators return to the Amway Center to take on the Arizona Rattlers at 7:30 p.m. May 7.