It was 336 days since the last time the Carolina Cobras had lost at home. There was little panic that the streak was in danger of being ended as the 1-5 Orlando Predators arrived at the Greensboro Coliseum. But this is professional football, and anything can happen. And this past Saturday anything DID happen. The Orlando Predators were able to upset the Cobras winning the game 74-69 in a high scoring shootout.
The game didn’t start off promising for the Predators. It took 0:28 seconds and one play for Charles McCullum to find Jordan Jolly in the endzone for six. But that didn’t deter Orlando as they marched down the field and scored their own touchdown. Bryan Hicks was able to drop the most beautiful ball into the back corner of the endzone to Michael Lyons. It was a back and forth affair, but it was the Predators that beat the Cobras in the turnover department. Orlando was able to secure two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Those errors proved to be the difference in a game where each possession mattered with both teams jockeyed for the lead.
The Predators went through a big personnel shift this week as players were cut and new faces added. But the undisputed leader on the field was QB Bryan Hicks. Hicks marched the Predators down the field time and time again, throwing nine touchdowns in the process. Derrick Macon Jr. did his absolute best to spark the offense securing two highlight-reel touchdown catches. Macon Jr. ended with four touchdowns on the evening.
Joining Macon Jr. in the four touchdown club was the man that caught TD number one, Michael Lyons. Lyons came into the game with four touchdowns on the season but was able to double his season total with an amazing performance in Greensboro. In a game that is all about passing the football, the Predators were able to find success running the football with Desmond Maxwell. The fullback was able to rip off a 12-yard run off of a pitch, something almost unheard of in arena football. Orlando found themselves turning to Maxwell often when they needed those few yards time and time again.
Now, I can’t promise that the Predators have “figured it out” but if you are an Orlando Predators fan, this win feels good. the offense was powerful, and players stepped up big time. If Coach Doug Miller is able to continue this momentum and the Predators can knock off the Jacksonville Sharks next week, then Orlando will be clicking at just the right time. The Predators will play at home in five of the last seven games, starting with a four-game stretch in Orlando. Not only is the Predators beating the Cobras good for Orlando fans, but it is good for the National Arena League as a whole. With all teams leveling out in competition, the race to the championship will become a very wild ride!