Predators win first game in new home, defeat Sharks


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Orlando Predators quarterback Jason Boltus threw for four touchdowns and ran in another two in Sunday’s win over the Sharks.

Jason Boltus threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more to help the Orlando Predators defeat the Jacksonville Sharks 49-47 in their season opener Sunday, March 16 at CFE Arena.

The Predators started their first season at a new home with a win over their rivals from the north. Orlando now improves to 3-8 all-time against Jacksonville.

Orlando’s new home brought with it some interesting challenges. The opening kickoff of the game bounced off the scoreboard, something the kickers had to keep in mind throughout the game. There was also no extra room behind the end zones like in other venues, there is only a padded wall.

“It’s the first game in a new arena and people didn’t know what to expect,” said Predators head coach Rob Keefe. “But its only going to get better and better.”

The Predators went into halftime leading the Sharks 28-20, thanks to Boltus’ three passing touchdowns and another score he ran in. Two of his touchdowns through the air went to wide receiver Braylon Bell.

Both teams went on to score a touchdown each during the third quarter, leaving the final 15 minutes to decide the game.

Jacksonville brought the game within one early in the fourth quarter but Orlando quickly extended their lead on a kick return for a touchdown by Arness Ikner on the following possession.

The Sharks and Predators would go back and forth for the rest of the quarter until Jacksonville scored with 11 seconds left in the game. Jacksonville was then forced to go for a two point conversion to tie the game.

Orlando stopped the conversion, securing their first victory of the year and improving to 1-0 for the season.

“To start the season 1-0, let these guys know, our team know, that we’re for real, we’re so talented,” said Boltus about his team. “As fast as we can come together and can get on the same page, we’re going to do some special things.”

Boltus finished the game going 17-33 passing for 176 yards and four touchdowns while adding 46 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.

The Predators next game will be on Friday, March 21 against the Los Angeles KISS (1-0). Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at CFE Arena on the UCF campus.