ORLANDO, FL (JUNE 22, 2013) – Unable to overcome first half turnovers, the Pittsburgh Power (3-10) fell to the Orlando Predators (5-8), 50-35, on Saturday night at the Amway Center.
The Power cut the Predators 24-point second half lead to only 8 points late in the 4th quarter, but could not halt Orlando’s offense, allowing them to score one final touchdown with 55 seconds remaining.
In his first game back since the recent passing of his father, Power quarterback Steven Sheffield completed 20 passes for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh received the ball to start the game, and Sheffield connected with wide receiver Mike Washington for 16 yards and the quick 7-0 Power lead. Orlando responded when 18-year AFL veteran Aaron Garcia found wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez with a 16-yard touchdown pass, tying the score 7-7 with 4:10 remaining. Pittsburgh’s ensuing drive resulted in a pick 6 by Orlando linebacker Marcus Everett, giving the Predators their first lead of the game, 14-7.
Power defensive back Sergio Gilliam started the 2nd quarter intercepting Garcia’s pass on the Orlando 6-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown, but after a missed extra point attempt by kicker Julian Rauch, the Predators still held the 14-13 lead. Orlando finished the half with three unanswered scores (two touchdowns and a field goal), extending their lead at halftime 31-13.
Orlando scored quickly to start the second half as fullback Mykel Benson carried the ball 3 yards for a touchdown to take a 37-13 advantage. The Power then went on a 22-6 scoring run with a 5-yard touchdown by newly acquired rookie wide receiver Tyrone Collins. On the following possession, Pittsburgh’s defense forced the Predators to turn the ball over on downs on the Power 4-yard line. The Power’s next drive was fueled by Sheffield’s 46-yard pass to wide receiver Julian Talley for his first touchdown of the night, making the score 37-27.
Garcia found receiver Maurice Williams in the end zone to extend their lead, 43-27, early in the 4th quarter. The Power answered with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Washington and then a two-point rushing conversion by Sheffield to cut the deficit to eight points, 43-35, with 4:22 remaining in the quarter.
Minutes later, Garcia lofted a 2-yard pass to Williams for his second touchdown of the night, which closed the game’s scoring at 50-35. Garcia finished the game for the Predators with 21 completions for 231 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The Power return home to CONSOL Energy Center next Saturday, June 29 hosting the New Orleans VooDoo at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on TribLIVE Radio SportsTalk.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Orlando’s Prechae Rodriguez
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Orlando’s Marcus Everett
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Pittsburgh’s Mike Washington
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Orlando’s Marcus Everett interception in the 4th quarter.
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Orlando’s Maurice Williams touchdown in the 4th quarter.