Josh Bush led the VooDoo with 146 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns.
NEW ORLEANS (May 18, 2012) – The New Orleans VooDoo (4-5) overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat the Orlando Predators (1-8), 68-61, on Friday night in The Graveyard.
The VooDoo led 27-14 after the first quarter, but the Predators scored 33 unanswered points to take a 47-27 lead late in the second. The 33-0 run was aided by two successful onside kick attempts by Orlando, a sack-safety of Kurt Rocco, and an interception thrown by Rocco.
“We struggled in that second quarter, it was (like a) Twilight Zone.” VooDoo Head Coach Pat O’Hara said in a post-game press conference. “You have to overcome that…you’re always going to be faced with adversity in this crazy game.”
Just before halftime, Rocco hit receiver L.J. Castile for a 26-yard touchdown as time expired. VooDoo kicker Matt Denny converted the PAT and the VooDoo closed the deficit to 13, making the score 47-34 heading into the break.
The VooDoo came out firing in the second half, as they outscored Orlando 20-7 in the third quarter behind three Rocco touchdown passes. In the end, Rocco tied the VooDoo franchise record with nine touchdown passes, a record he had already set on March 30 against the Utah Blaze.
“Kurt made some tremendous throws tonight, and the numbers show it.” O’Hara said. “If we can protect him like we did tonight in the future, we’re in for big things.”
In the fourth, the VooDoo trailed 61-54 after Orlando receiver T.T. Toliver caught his 5th touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Leak. The VooDoo returned the favor by tying the game at 61 one play later on a 31-yard pass from Rocco to Bush. After forcing an Orlando turnover on downs, Rocco hit Quorey Payne for a 10-yard touchdown to put New Orleans up for good, 68-61.
The Predators’ comeback attempt was not to be, as Jeremy Kellem made the play of the night by intercepting a Leak pass that bounced up in the air several times, and even off the wall. It was initially ruled incomplete, but an O’Hara challenge proved otherwise; “It’s a tremendous play. To win that challenge was obviously big.”
New Orleans was able to run out the clock and hang on, defeating O’Hara’s former team. After the game, he stated that the win was important for him and his family, and it’s something he’d been thinking about for nine months.
The VooDoo will now focus on their upcoming game against the Arizona Rattlers (6-3) next Saturday night, May 26, in the Graveyard. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Russell Athletic Player of the Game: T.T. Toliver, ORL Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Kellem, NOV JLS Ironman of the Game: Quorey Payne, NOV AFL Playmaker of the Game: Jeremy Kellem, NOV Spalding Highlight of the Game: Jeremy Kellem, NOV 4th Quarter INT National Guard MVP: Kurt Rocco, NOV
About the New Orleans VooDoo
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About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the AFL has afforded the fast-paced and exciting game of Arena Football to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The NFL Network will once again broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week for the entire regular and post season on Friday nights at 8:00 pm EST, culminating with the ArenaBowl Championship Game in August.