Flippers First Look: Preds Play Host to Sharks in Rematch At Amway
Orlando, FLA -- The Orlando Predators (1-3) are set to play host to the 2019 NAL Defending Champion Jacksonville Sharks (1-2) on Friday, July 2nd at 7:30 PM at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.
The last time these two teams clashed, Orlando came out on top versus their in-state rival at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, 52-41, securing their first victory of the season.
Memorable moments from the matchup include a 50-yard scoop and score fumble recovery by Predators defensive back Brian Foy, alongside an interception by fellow DB Josh Jenkins. The Preds defense produced four total turnovers in their first encounter with the Sharks.
Jacksonville starting quarterback Mike Fafaul also went down in the first half of play, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Heading into the matchup, the Preds are coming off a road trip where the team fell to the New Jersey Flight, 58-40.
“We did a very poor job of protecting my quarterback, we did a poor job of getting to theirs” said head coach Ben Bennett. “I think we might have won the turnover battle, but you’ve got to have all three ingredients. We didn’t do a lot of things we’re used to doing.”
Bennett also spoke about being shorthanded against the Flight. Quarterback Faustino Saucedo started in place of Bryan Hicks after he suffered a concussion against Albany, and starting defensive back Mike Carey got banged up in the second half of action in New Jersey.
“We were down in the secondary to start out and we got dinged up. You can’t ask your guys to play out of position and play extremely well.”
Despite the loss, there were still some positives for Orlando's players and coaching staff to build on.
Defensive back Brandon Fuentes ran back a 50-yard interception after picking off the pass in Orlando’s own end zone, and returned it with a wall-to-wall score. After the game, Fuentes’ efforts were nominated for the “National Arena League Week 5 Play of the Week.”
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Brain Price registered an interception in his first taste of game action as an Orlando Predator.
The Sharks are coming into the game with momentum, winning their first contest of the year in upset fashion over the undefeated Albany Empire (4-1), edging them 62-58 at home.
Sharks starting quarterback Danny Southwick, threw 281 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Empire. Jacksonville originally began the year with Mike Fafaul at signal caller, but he sustained an injury in the first half of play in the teams opener against Orlando that would sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Defensively for the Sharks, Cheatnam Norrils led the team with 11 tackles and two pass breakups. Defensive back Kenny Veal also stood out for the Sharks, racking up six tackles, an interception and led the team with three pass breakups.
During Orlando’s second home game of the season, the organization will celebrate “Military Appreciation Night”, permitting two free tickets at the Amway Arena Box Office to any fan that can show any Military ID.
If the Orlando Predators defeat the Jacksonville Sharks on Friday, the team will complete the season sweep of the 2019 NAL Defending Champs.
In an interview with BIG Hits Live, Myers was able to provide perspective on the in-state rivalry between the two squads.
“This is a big week for us. Every week is a big week, but you know with that in-state rivalry with Jacksonville we take it a bit more personal.” said Myers on Monday. “We know we got up on them in that first game and they’re going to be coming down here for vengeance, so we’re ready to go.”
Myers led all receivers with 8 catches for 103 yards and five scores in his first performance against the Sharks. Myers earned NAL Defensive Player of the Week since he also added an interception to his resume during the game.
For consecutive weeks Orlando will be without their starting signal caller, Hicks, who is still in concussion protocol.
“He took a pretty bad shot, hit his head on the turf. He’s on short term IR so he’s going to be out next week.” said Bennett after the New Jersey game. “We’ll play with the guys we got and go to battle and see what shakes out.”
About the Orlando Predators:
The Orlando Predators are a professional Arena Football team based in Orlando, Florida and a member of the National Arena League (NAL). The team was founded in 1991 as an expansion team of the Arena Football League (AFL). The team advanced to the playoffs 19 consecutive seasons between 1992 and 2011, becoming the Arena Bowl champions in 1998 and 2000 during that span. The team plays their home games at the Amway Center in beautiful Downtown Orlando, FL. For more information about the Orlando Predators visit www.orlandopredatorsfootball.com.