Power escape VooDoo for 10th straight win
TribLIVE Sports Videos
NEW ORLEANS — Trailing the Cleveland Gladiators by two in the loss column, the Pittsburgh Power had an opportunity to get a franchise-record 13th win this season and put some pressure on their East Division rivals.
Monday night in New Orleans, the Power had to overcome an inauspicious start and withstand an inspired performance by a team playing for pride. The Power ultimately survived 48-43, staying within striking distance of the top seed in the American Conference.
With New Orleans focusing its attention on top receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku (seven catches for 75 yards), Prechae Rodriguez had seven catches for 154 yards and five touchdowns.
“I was just in a zone, and we just had to make plays because (as an offense) we started off kind of sour,” Rodriguez said. “They busted a couple of coverages, but that was on them.
“We just had to execute on the offensive side, and now we're going to head into the bye week hitting on all cylinders.”
Tommy Grady struggled in the first half but kept his composure down the stretch, finishing 21 of 37 for 296 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Power (13-3), winners of 10 in a row, found the footing tough early as the VooDoo played more like the playoff-bound club.
After his defense forced a fumble on the VooDoo's first offensive possession, Grady forced a pass to the back of the end zone that was intercepted by Demarcus Robinson. Robinson returned the miscue 29 yards.
Three plays later, the VooDoo scored on a 13-yard toss from rookie quarterback Adam Kennedy to Courtney Smith for an early 7-0 lead.
The VooDoo defense then responded again, forcing a turnover on downs inside the 5-yard line.
New Orleans (2-13) took that momentum and went on a nine-play, 49-yard drive to take a 14-0 advantage on a 1-yard run by Kennedy.
The Power bounced back with 14 straight points. Grady connected for scores with Rodriguez (33 yards) and Tommy Taggart (4 yards) on consecutive drives.
On the next possession, Rodriguez hauled in a 48-yard pass to tie the game at 21-21.
With less than four minutes to play in the second half and the Power on top 41-37, Maurice Fountain sacked Kennedy on fourth down to give the ball back to the Power. Grady put the game away with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hank Edwards.
“We started slow and came out here nonchalant and weren't scoring on offense, but they played a heck of a game,” Grady said. “This was one of the hardest matchups for us offensively all year, but we want to keep getting better each week and stay healthy for the playoffs. So we'll keep trying to rack up wins.”
After a bye week, the Power will head to Iowa to take on the Barnstormers at 8:05 p.m. July 19.
Hank Brady is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.