Predators make interception in final seconds to come out on top in home opener


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Randy Hippeard threw for 228 yards and six touchdowns while running in two more.

Defensive back Kent Richardson made a key interception with 11 seconds left in the game to solidify the 53-50 win against the Portland Steel Saturday night at the Amway Center.

“We fought to the end and stuck together as a team and made it possible for us to score on every drive” said head coach Rob Keefe.

In two games, the Predators have scored on every single drive.

Predators quarterback Randy Hippeard ended the game with 228 pass yards and six touchdowns through the air and two more on the ground.

Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins was the player of the game and made big time plays for his team finishing the game with 5 receptions for 110 yards with three touchdowns.

“I put my faith in my team that we are going to make to make big time plays happen” said Thompkins about his ability to make plays.

The start of the game was slow and uneventful going into the half 16-20 with the Predators on top, but then gradually the pace picked up after halftime.

On their first drive the Predators scored a 26 yard pass touchdown from Randall Hippeard to LaMark Brown, but the Steel answered with a rushing touchdown from Bryson Kelly.

The next Predator drive the Predators scored again with Hippeard’s second passing touchdown to Brandon Thompkins on a 26-yard pass.

Orlando finished the first quarter leading with 13-6.

The start of the second quarter the Steel received the ball and ended their possession with a 4-yard passing touchdown to Jabin Sambrano tying it up at 13.

With two seconds left in the second quarter Portland had the ball as they were kicking the field goal, but Coach Keefe tried icing the kicker by calling two time outs but ended up receiving a penalty for it.

The score at halftime was 16-20 with the Orlando Predators leading.

In the third quarter both teams scored a total of four touchdowns. Making the third quarter end with the Predators leading with 33-30.

The fourth quarter was a shootout between both teams as this game was looking to whoever scores on the final drive

The whole fourth quarter was all about the Predators scoring to come out on top with the lead. They scored a total of four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Within the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Portland had the ball and made a big mistake when throwing an interception to Richardson to end the game.

The Predators return to the gridiron April 18 in Jacksonville against the Jacksonville Sharks.