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Predators tie franchise record for wins with victory over Portland Steel

Preds top Steel 47-41

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins scored three second-half touchdowns to lift the Orlando Predators (12-2) to a 47-41 road victory over the Portland Steel (1-12) on Saturday night. The win marks Orlando’s 12th of the season, tying a record that has only been achieved twice in franchise history (2003, 2015).

Thompkins hauled in 12 receptions for 123 yards and four touchdowns in the game, including all three Predators scores in the third and fourth quarter. QB Bernard Morris completed 21-of-34 passes for 257 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. WR Greg Carr added seven catches for 101 yards and two scores.

The Predators forced two turnovers on downs and DB Paul Stephens added an interception as the defense posted three stops on the night. DB Varmah Sonie led all defenders with 9.5 total tackles.

Thompkins came up with a 12-yard touchdown grab on the game’s opening drive and Orlando quickly built a 13-0 lead. Following a diving interception at the goal line by Paul Stephens, Carr hauled in a 32-yard score from Morris to put the Predators up two scores at the end of the first quarter.

Portland got on the board early in the second quarter after finding the end zone on a seven-yard carry by FB Kevin Myers, but Orlando would mount a 27-6 advantage with two unanswered scores. FB John Martinez capped the next drive with a two-yard touchdown run for Orlando and the Predators would regain possession after denying the Steel on fourth down a series later. Carr converted the turnover into points, securing a leaping 37-yard reception in traffic for the score. WR Rashaad Carter caught a six-yard touchdown for the Steel before the half was out, giving Orlando a 27-13 lead at the midway point.

Portland managed to tie the game 27-27 beginning with a 57-yard touchdown return by DB Shaine Boyle on the opening kickoff of the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, Morris had his pass intercepted off the nets by Steel LB Bryce Peila and Portland scored off a 13-yard reception by WR Nick Truesdell on the resulting drive.

Orlando broke up the tie as Thompkins snared a 13-yard touchdown pass from Morris, but a missed PAT allowed Portland to take a 34-33 lead early in the fourth quarter off a three-yard run by Carter.

The Predators would regain the lead as Brandon Thompkins hauled in two fourth quarter touchdowns. Morris fired a five-yard strike to Thompkins in the end zone on the next series to put the Predators back on top, 40-34. After the defense forced another turnover on downs, Thompkins hauled in a 27-yard touchdown on the next play to add to the lead, 47-34. Truesdell scored on a three-yard reception for Portland a series later, but Orlando would run out the clock on the game’s final drive to seal the victory.

The Predators travel to Phoenix next week to battle the Arizona Rattlers on Monday, July 18, at 9:30 p.m. ET.