NEW ORLEANS — The Orlando Predators (2-1) earned its second victory of the season on Saturday night, taking to the road to defeat the New Orleans VooDoo (1-2) at the Smoothie King Center by a final score of 47-42. Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins provided a spark on special teams, returning two kicks for scores of over 50 yards.
Orlando quarterback Randy Hippeard completed 19-of-28 pass attempts for 236 yards and four touchdowns on the night, connecting with wide receiverKendal Thompkins on eight passes for 64 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Greg Carr added four receptions for 62 yards and another touchdown while fullback Michael Simons generated 67 total yards as he caught two passes for 45 yards and carried three times for 22 yards.
New Orleans got on the board during the game’s opening possession following a 17-yard touchdown pass from QB Adam Kennedy to WR Chris Duvalt. Orlando matched the score on its first series as Randy Hippeard dropped back and lofted a 19-yard scoring completion to Kendal Thompkins in the left corner of the end zone. The Predators defense tightened on the ensuing series, forcing three straight incompletion in the red zone to hold the VooDoo to a 28-yard field goal. Moments later, Greg Carr made a leaping nine-yard touchdown reception to give the Predators a 13-10 lead minutes into the second quarter.
The VooDoo matched the touchdown off a 12-yard pass from Kennedy to Duvalt for a 16-13 advantage, however the lead was short lived as Brandon Thompkins put his electric return skills on display. Moments after the score, Thompkins received the ensuing kickoff and raced through the middle of the field, side-stepping would-be tacklers on his way to a 51-yard touchdown. New Orleans regained possession, but a stifling Predators defense forced another field goal try, this time from midfield. AsGarrett Lindholm’s kick bounced off the right nets, Thompkins secured the miss attempt and darted up field. The fleet-footed wide receiver eluded multiple defenders before cutting up the right sideline and racing to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown to give the Predators a 27-16 lead.
New Orleans found the end zone late in the second quarter off a seven-yard pass from Kennedy to Duvalt, but the Preds closed out the half with a successful 17-yard field goal attempt by Mark Lewis, leading to a 30-22 lead at the midway point.
The Predators regained possession at the start of the third quarter and converted the drive into points as Mark Lewis booted a 19-yard field goal for a 33-22 advantage. New Orleans would respond on its first series of the second half, scoring on a 13-yard pass from Kennedy to Franklin.
Orlando answered the score on the first play of the final quarter as Hippeard fired a nine-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Kendal Thompkins for a 40-29 lead. Two plays later, the VooDoo found the end zone off a 35-yard completion from Kennedy to Franklin.
The Predators turned the ball over on downs on its next offensive series, but Orlando’s defense swiftly answered the call to regain possession. On the first play of the ensuing series, rookie nose guardAustin Brown broke through the interior of the offensive line and sacked Kennedy for a nine-yard loss, forcing him to fumble in the process. Linebacker Aaron Robbins recovered the loose ball for Orlando and the Predators need just two plays to score as Hippeard lofted a four-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Lamark Brown in the right corner of the end zone.
New Orleans scored on a seven-yard pass from Kennedy to Franklin with 46 seconds remaining in the game, but Hippeard was able to convert a crucial fourth-down attempt during the game’s final drive to secure the victory for Orlando, 47-42.