PORTLAND, OR – The Orlando Predators (12 – 2) brought their “A” game, as they stormed the Moda Center. The seats in the Moda were more filled than they have been all season. For many players on the Predators it was a sort of homecoming, as they had played for Portland either last season as the Thunder or this current season.
Among the returning players was QB Danny Southwick, who had only just left the Steel in May of this year. Standing with Southwick also former Portland players were FB John Martinez, DB Varmah Sonie, OL Sam Longo and past coaches Offensive/ Defensive coach Clay Harrell and Offensive Coordinator Matt Sauk.
As the Steel faced off against former brothers in arms they braced themselves for a fight. No more than six minutes into the first quarter did the first points hit the scoreboard. Predators were quick to score tonight, following up six minutes later with another, Leading 13- 0 as the Predators Kicker, Mark Lewis missed one of the two extra points.
The first points for the Steel didn’t come until the second quarter, a touchdown two minutes in by non-other than Fullback Kevin Myers. Weighing in at 370 lbs you’d think that man would be slow on his feet but as they say, an object in motion says in motion, Myers rushed the ball into the endzone untouched under his teammates protection.
Portland just couldn’t come out from under the thumb of Orlando, until the 3rd quarter when Portland tied up with a Touchdown from WR Nick Truesdell. One that was for the books, Truesdell caught the ball in the endzone and carried it two completed steps with Predator Varmah Sonie latched onto his back. The play was originally called an incomplete in which caused not only the crowds rage but the whole field got testy. Head Coach Ron James contested the ruling, the Referees reviewed the footage and ruled differently, calling it a completed Touchdown.
With the score tied up and halftime drawing near the Orlando Predators followed Portland’s TD with one of their own, once again missing the extra point kick, the halftime score resting at 27-33.
In the second half the Steel tried desperately to grow their point lead, failing with incomplete pass after pass. There were a few bad calls from the Referees, well more along the lines of missed calls, including several delayed hits from Orlando. But even with said calls, the Predators still managed two more touchdowns and an extra point. One of the most impressive Touchdowns of the night being Orlando’s almost 50 yrd pass and completed catch, sailing in a perfect spiral into the WR’s hands.
Though the Steel fought hard, they exited the field with yet another loss. Though they still hugged and chatted with their old teammates and coaches as if they hadn’t just played against them. Friendships from years passed were continued as they reunited on their field of battle.
Next weekend the Portland Steel finish off their four game home stand against the Jacksonville Sharks (5 – 7), next Saturday July 16th in the Moda Center.