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Nashville Kats One Win Away from ArenaBowl Spot | Soccer

By meerna Jul11,2024
Nashville Kats One Win Away from ArenaBowl Spot | Soccer

Thanks in part to their 38-year-old quarterback recently coming out of retirement, the Nashville Kats are one win away from a spot in ArenaBowl XXXIII.

Randy Hippeard threw seven touchdown passes over the weekend to power the Kats to a sensational 62-32 victory over the host Orlando Predators in the first round of the Arena Football League playoffs.

On Saturday in Montana, Nashville will face the No. 1 seed Billings Outlaws. The AFL semifinals will begin at 9 p.m. EST (CBS Sports Network).

The win over Orlando was the Kats’ second game for Hippeard, a 2017 AFL Player of the Year winner who has not played a professional game since retiring five years ago.

Nashville coach Dean Cokinos tapped Hippeard to return to action last month after the Kats lost their two starting quarterbacks, Ramone Atkins and Dalton Oliver, to injuries.

He made his debut in the Kats’ final regular-season game at Billings on June 8, where he completed 34 of 39 passes for 322 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.

“When I got here, me and the receivers had a few days to meet up, throw downs and practice,” Hippeard told the team’s website. “Dean did a great job of letting me come in and not necessarily do everything my way, but giving the receivers time to adjust to me and what I do best.”

In the playoff game in Orlando, Hippeard led the Kats in touchdowns on all nine possessions, completing 15 of 21 passes for 165 yards and seven scores.

“Randy is the perfect Arena Football League quarterback,” Cokinos said of the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Hippeard. “He’s a pocket quarterback and a big, strong guy who gets the ball out so quickly. He knows the game and all the structures offensively and defensively, and that makes him tough to defend.”

Braxton Haley led the Kats with three touchdowns against Orlando, while Kendrick Ings had four receptions, including one for a touchdown.

Saturday’s game will be a rematch of the regular-season finale between Nashville and Billings, in which the Kats handed the Outlaws their only loss of the season after seven straight wins.

The winner of this match will play the winner of the other semifinal, Salina vs. Albany, at ArenaBowl XXXIII on July 19 at 4:30 p.m. Central Time.

By meerna

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