Power fall to previously winless Predators
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
Nearly two months into the Arena Football League season, none of the three teams in the American Conference East have a winning record.
The Power (1-5) should feel right at home.
For the second consecutive week, the Power entered their game with a chance to seize a share of first place in the division, only to lose to a team with a losing record. This time, the defeat was more shameful than any other — 52-38 to the Orlando Predators on Saturday night before a season-low crowd of 4,174 at Consol Energy Center.
The Predators (1-5) entered the game as the AFL's only winless team. The Power haven't won at home since April 14, 2012, and the frustration is starting to show for coach Derek Stingley, who was clearly agitated and a bit puzzled after the game.
He said he has tried to simplify the game plan, but the players aren't responding.
“You got the problems fixed, then you get another issue,” he said. “You figure, ‘What's going on in their heads?' ”
Prior to the game, the offense was averaging a league-low 33 points per game. Against Orlando, the defense joined the offense in its misery.
“We had more blown coverages than at any time in my coaching career,” Stingley said.
The Power trailed, 28-13, at halftime, but rallied in the third quarter behind its defense when linebacker Gary Butler recovered a fumble by 42-year-old Orlando quarterback Aaron Garcia. That set up wide receiver Sharmar Graves' second touchdown reception. On the next Predators' possession, Power linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson returned an interception 44 yards for a TD to cut the lead to 28-26.
But that was the extent of the game's drama. The defense ended up allowing Garcia to throw six touchdown passes in his first game for the Predators after a trade from San Jose.
Power quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed only 20 of 38 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Stingley said failure on offense was a team effort.
“At times, when he has a clean pocket, he makes a good throw, then someone drops a pass,” he said. “Then, he throws it somewhere where we don't know where he's throwing it. I am very disappointed.”
The final possession of the first half capsulized the Power's frustration. Jefferson scrambled to the Orlando 3 while the clock expired. Even if he had scored, it wouldn't have counted. The Power were called for illegal formation.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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