Orlando Predators start off 2-0 for first time since 2011 season

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The Orlando Predators came back from a 21-point deficit to defeat the L.A. KISS in overtime 69-63 on Friday March 21, at the CFE Arena.

During the first quarter of the game, the KISS scored three touchdowns before the Predators could put any points up. Jason Boltus threw a pick-six during the early goings of the game.

Boltus threw his first touchdown of the game to receiver Kendal Thompkins with just 4:39 left in the first quarter. They would then fail the attempted 2-point conversion.

Orlando would attempt a two-point conversion all but two of the touchdowns, resulting in 4-8 attempts proving successful.

After kicking no extra points the entire game, Predators’ kicker Mark Lewis was called upon for the extra point with 43 seconds remaining in the game. The PAT brought Orlando up by seven, but L.A. came back with a touchdown with only 30 seconds left.

“When you talk about the character thats on this team, Mark Lewis all week was dealing with an injury,” said Predators head coach Rob Keefe. “I think he over exerted himself in warm-ups, and I had someone come up to me along with Mark and said there’s a possibility he won’t be able to kick this evening.”

Coach Keefe did have a backup plan if Lewis couldn’t kick in defensive back Tanner Varner. Varner was also able to force a fumble, as well as make two interceptions, which he returned for a total of 74 yards, one resulting in a touchdown.

Orlando intercepted the very first play from scrimmage in overtime, returning the ball to the 1-yard line. After one failed QB sneak, Boltus was able to find the endzone and secure the win for the Predators.

Predators’ wide receiver Khalil Paden was awarded the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game with his two touchdown, 154 yard performance.

With the win, the Predators improve to 2-0 for the season, marking the first time since 2011 that the team has opened up with back-to-back wins.

Orlando will travel to face the Tampa Bay Storm next Saturday, March 29, in the year’s first installment of the War on I-4.