Week 1 Preds vs Slingers Preview

First-year head coach Jeff Higgins looks to start the Higgins Era of Predators Football strong, and their first test will come against the San Antonio Gunslingers on Saturday in Texas.

Higgins, who spent two years with the Predators before being hired to lead the team, said the one thing he was looking forward to on Saturday is getting the chance to put everything they’ve been working on into action against another team.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of each other obviously the past couple of weeks,” Higgins said. “I think the whole league is feeling the same way. So, to get back into football and doing it at full capacity, it’s going to be a fun thing.”

The Predators, coming off a 4-4 season and a 61-43 first-round playoff loss to the Columbus Lions, are entering the season with championship hopes. Higgins said it is all about winning the first game to get to that point.

With the introduction of Higgins as the head coach for the 2022 season, center De’quan Murray said the work at the start of the season has been tedious, but beneficial, in terms of getting ready for their matchup on Saturday.

“Coach likes to dot all his I’s and cross all his T’s,” Murray said. “But there’s one thing you have to appreciate about Jeff Higgins: his passion for the game.”

Quarterback Rakeem Cato will lead the charge for the Predators on offense, said he is going to make the most of his opportunity come Saturday.

“I’m just happy to be back in full gear,” Cato said. “I just take it one play at a time and one game at a time.”

Receiver Lonnie Outlaw will join the team for the 2022 season from the Lions, where he earned second-team and Most Improved Player honorees during the 2021 season. The 6-foot-7 veteran said he hopes to bring enthusiasm and leadership to the team

Outlaw said he’s looking forward to taking on The Gunslingers on Saturday, who are in their first season in NAL.

“I’m looking forward to a great game,” Outlaw said. “We just got to play Predators football.”

Veteran defensive back Joshua Jenkins said the mentality of the defense going into Saturday’s matchup is staying physical.

“Everybody is looking for the first hit,” Jenkins said. “I know every football player kind of has to get that amp going so that first hit usually does it and from there, let’s just have some fun.”

The Predators matchup is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. and will be streamed via the NAL YouTube channel.