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Storm force turnovers; Defeat New Orleans, 62-57, in Arena football home opener

Friday March 14, 2014

 TAMPA BAY -- Quarterback Randy Hippeard passed for six touchdowns, four of those to receiver Justin Hilton as the Tampa Bay Storm defeated the New Orleans VooDoo, 62-57, in the opening-season Arena Football League game on the Amalie Oil Field Friday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

It was four key defensive plays, including a net recovery touchdown by defensive back Rod Issac in the second quarter and a 42-yard fumble recovery by Chris Smith to open the fourth period that ignited the Storm (1-0). Smith’s exciting return gave the Storm a 55-45 margin at 11:33 of the 4th quarter.

Hippeard was 18 of 27 for 288 yards and connected with Hilton on the opening 24-yard pass and again for 12, 42 and 33 yards.

VooDoo starter Kurt Rocco was 17 of 33 for 251 yards and five touchdowns, but was knocked out of the game with a third-quarter injury and backup rookie Ryan Perrilloux, out of Jacksonville State, finished the game and made the crucial fumble on Smith’s exciting runback score.

Hilton ended with nine catches for 147 yards and Andrew Helmick had three grabs for 71 yards and a touchdown. Michael Lindsey had a n interception and also two receptions for 19 yards and a 6-yard touchdown. He also had seven kickoff returns for 154 yards and a long of 42.

The Tampa Bay Storm travel to San Antonio next week (Friday, March 21) for a cross-conference game against the Western Division Talons. Game time is 8:30 p.m. (EDT) with the game being broadcast on radio 1250 AM (WHNZ) in Tampa Bay. The next home game is against the Orlando Predators in the War on I-4, Saturday, March 29 on the Amalie Motor Oil Field in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.