In a game that featured a 21-point lead and multiple lead changes, the Orlando Predators defeated the Portland Steel 47-41 in front of 4,438 fans at Portland’s Moda Center Saturday night.
Orlando (12-2) took a 27-6 lead with under three minutes to go in the first half on three Bernard Morris touchdown passes (two to Greg Carr, another to Bernard Thompkins) and a John Martinez touchdown run. Portland’s first score came on a seven-yard run by Kevin Myers. The halftime score was 27-13 after Shane Austin’s touchdown pass to Rashaad Carter with just over one minute remaining.
In the third quarter, Portland (1-12) came out firing. Shaine Boyle returned the second half kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown. On their following possession, Orlando drove all the way to the Portland three-yard line before Steel linebacker Bryce Peila intercepted a Morris pass in the end zone. Portland’s ensuing eight-play, 45-yard drive concluded when Austin found Nick Truesdell for a touchdown to tie the score at 27.
Orlando responded when Thompkins scored the first of his three second-half touchdowns to take a 33-27 lead. Rashaad Carter showed his versatility by running for a touchdown on the next series for Portland. After converting the extra point, the Steel took a 34-33 lead with less than a minute left in the third quarter. Orlando’s first drive of the fourth quarter ended with another Thompkins touchdown to give them a 40-34 lead they would never relinquish.
On the Steel’s next possession, they committed a turnover on downs. Morris then found Thompkins for his last score of the game and a 47-34 Predators lead. After Boyle had another quality kick return, Shane Austin found Truesdell for the last score of the game with just over a minute left. bringing the deficit to its final margin. Orlando was able to run out the clock on their next possession and secure the victory.
The 12 regular-season wins ties a Predators team record. Morris finished 21-for-34 for 257 yards and six touchdowns. Thompkins scored those four total touchdowns on 12 receptions for 123 yards. Greg Carr totaled seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. For Portland, Shane Austin went 27-for-42 for 241 yards and three touchdowns.
Orlando’s next game is against the Arizona Rattlers in Phoenix on July 18. The Portland Steel host the Jacksonville Sharks in Portland on July 16.