ORLANDO, Fla. -- The 12-game win streak for the Arena Football League's Power came to an end Sunday in the team's first trip to the postseason.
The Power trailed the Orlando Predators twice by double digits in the second half before falling, 56-48, in front of a crowd of 4,889 at CFE Arena on the campus of the University of Central Florida.
The Power (15-4) cut the deficit to 49-48 with less than nine minutes to play when quarterback Tommy Grady connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku for a 31-yard touchdown before finding Prechae Rodriguez for a 2-point conversion.
Former Power quarterback Bernard Morris capped an 8-play drive over the ensuing six minutes by reaching the end zone from 1 yard for the final score of the game.
An onside kick by Mark Lewis followed with a minute to play. The ball bounced in the direction of Kauleinamoku, who took a hit by two players and was unable to come away with possession. Orlando (12-7) ran out the clock from there and goes on the road Sunday to face Cleveland in the American Conference title game.
"It's an empty feeling," Power coach Ron James said. "You want to take it the distance, and to be out in the first round isn't something that you ever work for. We didn't execute at a high level and they beat us to the punch on a lot of big plays."
Grady gave the Power a 28-21 lead with a minute left in the first half when Rodriguez shook off Eddie Moten for a 4-yard touchdown. Morris responded by finding Greg Carr in the back of the end zone as time expired to tie the score entering the break.
Orlando took the lead for good on the first possession of the second half when Morris cut to his left and rushed for a 4-yard score. The Power then turned the ball over on downs and Morris extended Orlando's lead to 42-28 on a 7-yard run around the right side.
"It was the way we ended the first half," James said. "They scored at the end of the half and were the first to score in the third quarter. If we didn't have that swing maybe it's a different outcome. The way you finish the game and the way you finish the half is indicative of how you win or lose in this league."
The Power cut the lead to 42-34 on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Grady to Rodriguez, then promptly got the ball back near midfield when the defense forced a turnover on downs.
But two plays later, Grady's pass to Rodriguez was off target and fell into the arms of Moten. Morris and Carr hooked up from there for the fourth time to put Orlando out front, 49-34.
The Power got within striking distance for the final time when Tyrone Goard caught a 3-yard touchdown pass, followed by an interception by Brandon Freeman to set up Kauleinamoku's score.
Grady completed 18 of 30 passes for 240 yards and seven touchdowns while Morris went 19 of 38 for 221 yards and eight total touchdowns.
"We had a good season, but for a lot of us the playoffs is the season that matters," Grady said. "As a team we just couldn't put it together."