Maybe the transition to the Arena Football League isn’t so difficult after all.
Not the way quarterback Adam Kennedy played during the New Orleans VooDoo’s 62-46 loss Saturday at the Cleveland Gladiators.
Kennedy, who played college football last season at Arkansas State, did not have a perfect game. Yet his efforts proved to challenge those of veteran VooDoo quarterback Kurt Rocco and rookie Ryan Perrilloux, a former LSU standout. Both are on the VooDoo’s inactive list because of injuries.
Against Cleveland, Kennedy completed 20 of 36 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 32 yards and two scores. He did throw one interception but was not sacked.
“It was incredibly weird,” said Kennedy, who signed less than a week before his AFL debut. “It felt so much different (than outdoor football). It was my first time seeing a game, much less going in and playing it.
“It started out (fast), but in the second half it definitely slowed down as coach (Pat) O’Hara told me it would.”
After being outscored 34-6 in the first half, Kennedy led the VooDoo to six consecutive scoring drives.
His performance was even more special when factoring in the loss of leading receiver L.J. Castille, who hopes this week to secure a contract with another football league. Saturday’s game marked his first absence this season from the lineup.
One of Kennedy’s few mistakes occurred in the second quarter when he was intercepted. Recalling the throw, Kennedy broke one of the rules he was taught early in football: Don’t make a bad play worse. He did by rolling to his right and throw across his body, the pass falling short to receiver Courtney Smith.
The VooDoo (2-10) host the Tampa Bay Sharks (7-6) on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Kennedy now has a second week to learn the game. Considering what he accomplished in one week, he’s feels optimistic.
“Cleveland had one of the best defenses in the league, and we were able to put up some points in the second half,” he said. “So I think we have some confidence moving forward. I certainly do. I hope it carries over to Saturday.”
The VooDoo’s turnover margin is the worst in the AFL (-18). Its quarterbacks have thrown a combined 26 interceptions, tied for second-worst in the league. The VooDoo have also lost 19 fumbles (T-1).
Beavers is Player of Week
VooDoo receiver Larry Beavers returned two kickoffs for TDs at Cleveland, earning J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week honors for Week 14 of the AFL season.
Beavers also caught seven passes for 116 yards — both team highs — including a 29-yard score in the final minutes. He finished with a season-high 318 all-purpose yards.
Smith, who works as a school teacher, returned to the VooDoo on Saturday, finishing his first game of the season with six catches for 55 yards. Smith also caught one TD.