DULUTH, Ga. -- The Georgia Force came out of the locker room with a bang before falling to the Orlando Predators 48-43 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Saturday.
The Force began the game with a 57-yard kick-off return for a touchdown by wide receiver C.J. Johnson, which cemented a lead that they kept through the half.
The second time the Force touched the ball, a quick drive ended in another Johnson touchdown; this time it was a fake-reverse pass to the star receiver, which he took nearly 20 yards to the end zone.
The Predators responded with a touchdown but the Force came back with another score from receiver Maurice Purify. The 22-yard catch gave the force a 21-7 lead heading into the second quarter.
Orlando came out of the break with a mission, throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Toliver in a diving catch at the back of the end zone.
After a few turnovers on downs and three interceptions, the Force ended the half with a field goal, bringing the halftime score to 24-14.
To start the second half the Force, once again, started out with a touchdown in the first two minutes of play, after a steady drive and a short touchdown by wide receiver Michael Johnson.
The Predators seemed to take control of the game after the initial Force touchdown, scoring twice in eight minutes, but Maurice Purify took a screen pass nearly 45 yards for the score, to put the Force lead back at nine.
A systematic drive, and a play action pass, led Orlando to another seven points to start off the fourth quarter.
Force quarterback Brett Elliot went down with a left knee injury and about 10 minutes left in the game. His replacement, Darnell Kennedy, mishandled his first snap, leaving Georgia up 37-35 with seven minutes left, and Orlando driving.
After a Predators score, Kennedy moved the Force down the field swiftly and ended a great drive with an acrobatic run for the touchdown that put the Force up by one point with one minute left.
Orlando responded with a touchdown run by tquarterback Nick Hill, leaving the Force down by five points with 36 seconds left, but with the ball in hand.
The final seconds were filled with excitement and effort. Kennedy threw a deep pass that was picked off by Predators defensive back Rayshaun Kizer.
The Force lost the game 48-43, after a hard battle with another 3-1 team. The Force are now 3-2 overall and will look to secure a victory when the team travels to meet the Milwaukee Mustangs April 23.