JERSEY FLIGHT EXTEND WINNING WAYS, DOWN ORLANDO PREDATORS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT VICTORY
by Matthew Kass
TRENTON, NJ – The Jersey Flight finished out their home slate of games on a high note yesterday evening, defeating the Orlando Predators by a 58-40 final score to stretch their nascent winning streak to two games after a winless start to the season.
QB Warren Smith had five passing touchdowns and one run for another score in the game. Three of his touchdown passes went to WR Tyron Laughinghouse, including a key strike in the dying seconds of the second quarter to retake the lead after an Orlando pick-six.
Also making offensive contributions in the game were WR Brian Robinson with the game’s opening touchdown on an acrobatic tip-drill catch, WR Jared Dangerfield with a rushing and passing touchdown, and RB/DL Calvin Fance, who barreled his way in for a rushing TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, The Flight crucially held the Predators to single-digit scores in both the first and third quarter, allowing only nine points in the opening frame, and then just six points in the third quarter.
DL/LB Sean Daniels was credited with half a sack and one and a half tackles, but consistently battled through the Orlando offensive line all night to put pressure on Predators QB Faustino Saucedo. LB/DL Nick Haag and DB Svante Davenport each forced a fumble, and DB Laroche Jackson had an interception late to all but seal the victory.
One key aspect of the game for the Flight was the special teams battle. Jersey was able to take advantage of an unforced error by the Predators on an onside kick that bounced out of bounds, and blocked two extra point attempts back the other way for two two-point conversions, a four point swing that helped to quell the momentum after the Predators' touchdowns.
Following the game, GM/HC Terry Foster, Smith, Laughinghouse, and Daniels all spoke to assembled media.
As Foster noted, being able to finally get over the hump and pull out a home victory was important for the team and the fans.
“It’s always good to get a win, especially to finally get one at home,” Foster said. “our Trenton faithful have come out and supported us all season and it’s taken us four tries to finally get them a victory, so we’re very proud to finally be able to do that and say a true thank you to our fanbase.”
That sentiment was shared by Smith, who talked about how big the momentum swing has been for the Flight, who now head into a bye week.
“It’s huge to win two in a row going into a bye,” Smith said. “We’re kind of banged up right now, but we’re just starting to do the little things right. We still have a lot to clean up, discipline wise and just overall, but we’re doing better in the special teams battle […] where we were losing the special teams battle, we’re starting to win the special teams battle, and you can see how important that is in this game.”
Smith added, “Overall, it’s great to win two in a row, and it goes to show you that if you do the little things right, those things start adding up, and you start feeling good, and you start winning by two or three scores.”
For Laughinghouse, with his trio of touchdowns, the ability to consistently find the end zone is something he relishes, and he feels is key to helping the Flight win games.
“It feels great,” Laughinghouse said. “I feel like every time I’m in high motion, they’re going to run a different defense then they do [for] everybody, so I just capitalized on what they give me. I run what they give me and I do whatever I do when I get the ball, so I’m just glad to be back in the house with the guys and I’m just ready to play football and fight for the playoff spot.”
And on the defensive side of the ball, Daniels talked about his individual performance, and how it fits into the greater defensive scheme.
“The individual performance is just one thing that shows out, but it’s really a combination of the whole team playing,” Daniels said. “So when we say individual performance, it’s really everybody playing together as a defense.”
Daniels added, “Our whole d-line stepped up. Our defense has been coming hot all season, and we just came [up] short a couple games. These past two games we’ve finally been putting it all together […] and we’re getting there.”
Following their second consecutive win, the Flight head into a bye week over July 4th weekend, and then a road contest against the Predators down at Amway Arena in Orlando.
The road game against the Predators will be streamed live on the National Arena League YouTube channel on Saturday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are also available for fans looking to go to the game at the following link.