The New Orleans VooDoo trailed in the second quarter after two big plays by Orlando Predators return man Brandon Thompkins.
The VooDoo never caught up, losing 47-42 in an Arena Football League game on Saturday Smoothie King Center.
The loss was the second consecutive for New Orleans (1-2) after winning its season opener and the second consecutive for Orlando (2-1) after losing its first game. It came despite 251 yards passing by quarterback Adam Kennedy and nine receptions for 118 yards and three touchdowns by former Kentwood High and McNeese State standout Carlese Franklin. Chris Duvalt also had nine receptions and three scores.
“We just have to capitalize on mistakes,” coach Dean Cokinos said. “We played for 60 minutes, but we have to be more opportunistic.”
After closing to the final margin on Kennedy’s 7-yard pass to Franklin with 46 seconds left, the VooDoo had Orlando at its 10. However, Randy Hippeard completed a pass to Thompkins to the VooDoo 9. Hippeard took a knee and ran out the clock.
Thompkins put Orlando ahead 27-11 with returns of 52 and 51 yards, and they stayed in control the rest of the way.
“We knew they run down fast on special teams,” he said. “We wanted to get a block and break it, and we were able to do that.”
New Orleans was able to stay close, trailing 40-36 early in the fourth quarter. And after getting a turnover on downs at its 15-yard line at 9:11 of the fourth quarter, the VooDoo appeared on the way to taking the lead.
However, Kennedy was hit hard when sacked by Orlando defensive end Austin Brown and fumbled. Defensive lineman Meshak Williams recovered the ball at the 6. Two plays later, Hippeard passed to LaMark Brown at the back end line for the score, giving Orlando a 47-36 lead.
The VooDoo had pulled to 33-29 by the end of the third, scoring the only touchdown of the quarter — Kennedy’s 13-yard pass to Franklin — and holding Orlando to Justin Hilton’s 19-yard field goal.
The VooDoo trailed at halftime 30-22 but that came after holding the Predators to a 19-yard field goal as time ran out after stopping Orlando on three plays inside the 5.
The VooDoo led 16-13 on Duvalt’s 12-yard touchdown reception at 10:51 of the second quarter. But after the ensuing kickoff went off the end zone wall toward the field, Thompson picked it up, cut left and weaved through the VooDoo for the touchdown.
Next, he fielded a missed 43-yard field-goal attempt by the VooDoo’s Garrett Lindholm off the net and burst from the left side of the field for a 52-yard score.
VooDoo WR Larry Beavers was placed on injured reserve and will miss three games. Heading into the game, Beavers led the Arena League in return yards with 315. OL Leonardo Bates was inactive. Bates was injured during the second quarter last week vs. Cleveland. New Orleans signed Wrs Charles Gilbert of Concordia-St. Paul and Johnny Lester of Minot State. … Predators DL Jeremy Geathers is the son of former Saints DL Jumpy Geathers and was born in New Orleans. Orlando WR Larry Brackins, who played at Pearl River CC, was inactive for the game with stitches in his hand. The hand was cut during last week’s game against Jacksonville.