TULSA, OK–It was bound to happen sometime.
Up until Saturday night, the Tulsa Talons arena football club held a unique distinction among it’s fellow teams in the AFL. Since 2008, when the Talons were an af2 team and they moved from the friendly confines of the Tulsa Convention Center, the Talons have won some 14 games in the amazing BOK Center. For those who are interested in the break down that includes four home games this season, all 8 regular season games plus two playoff home games this season. Talons fans took a measure of pride in knowing the Talons were unbeatable at home.
The Talons team performance this season does it’s part to reinforce that claim with 7 players in the top 10 in AFL performance categories, it’s hard to deny that the Talons team are doing their part to back up their stance. The problem is, with a home record of 14-and-none since the move it puts a huge bulls eye on your chest, and you have to sustain your momentum otherwise you will tumble from the high ground.
So it was that the Talons, (5-3) fresh off a 52-48 win over the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings would host the Orlando Predators, (3-4) who were smarting from a 62-50 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Storm last Friday night in a game featured on the NFL Network. Talons QB Justin Allgood became the Talons all=time leader in passing yardage during the game with Bossier, and Predator QB Nick Hill went 47-31 passing last week for 393 yards, one pick and 6 TDs.
The Talons drove down field in 5 plays from the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but that was quickly answered by the Predators kick returner Josh Bush, who fielded a Tony Dodson kickoff from the net and traveled the length of the field to tie the score. This was answered by the Talons when Allgood threw a 30+yard strike to Donovan Morgan in the corner of the end zone to take the lead 14-7.
The Predators would take the lead in the 2nd quarter, but Tulsa would tie the score midway through when Allgood and Morgan would combine for another passing touchdown. The critical turning point in the game was the third quarter as the Talons, who had a load of momentum were driving down field and were stopped by the spread out Predator defense and turned the ball over on downs. Orlando’s D would pick off Justin Allgood twice and plant him on the turf several times. Some of those sacks were for penalties for roughing the passer, but the ones that weren’t sent a message.
Once Josh Bush rushed for a second kick return touchdown, it was all but over. Indeed, the 3 point differential in the score at the end of the game belies what was a flat performance tonight by Tulsa. Defensively the Talons would pick Nick Hill twice, but beyond that the performance was lifeless and uninspired.
The Talons go on the road to the American Airlines Center in Dallas for a rematch with the Vigilantes next week. Dallas has firm control of the basement of the AFL’s Southwest division with a record of one win and seven losses, while the Talons remain in first at 5-4. The two teams last met on April 10th in the BOK Center and the Vigilantes suffered a 67-59 loss. Orlando hosts the Spokane Shock next week at home.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The Talons next home game is on June 26th with the Cleveland Gladiators. The Talons were defeated back on May 15th by the Gladiators 68-55. Tickets are available at the BOK Center box office, at tulsatalons.com or by calling the Talons office at 294-1000. Tulsa Talons can be heard on KRMG AM 740 and FM 102.3 with Rick Couri providing the play-by-play,