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Tampa Bay "'Storms" Philadelphia, 63-49, in arena game

Saturday April 5, 2014

TAMPA BAY -- Randy Hippeard’s seven touchdown passes, three of those Amarri Jackson led the offense, but it was the incredible defensive play of Chris Smith that allowed the Tampa Bay Storm to strike early, build a solid three possession lead and defeat the Philadelphia Soul, 63-49, Friday night in an Arena Football League game on the Amalie Motor Oil Field at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

A crowd of more than 11,000 watched the Storm (3-1) build a 49-38 margin at the end of the third quarter thanks to Hippeard, who said, “we executed the offense early.” Hippeard ended with connecting on 22 of 35 passes for 76 yards and Jackson had 10 catches for 143 yards, his biggest game this season.

Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led Philadelphia (0-3) connecting on 32 of 47 for 325 yards and six touchdowns. The Soul leading receiver was Ryan McDaniel, who had 14 grabs for 138 yards and three scores.

Smith had an exciting interception on the goal line, battling McDaniel for the ball that popped up and it was his 6th pick of the season. He also had his fifth and sixth pass break ups of the season. However, De’Audra Dix had five pass breakups and now has nine on the season. Smith also rand back a on-side kickoff five yards for a TD in the 2nd period.

Justin Hilton and newcomer Samuel Tranks had six and four receptions each and 59 and 57 yards, respectively, with Hilton collecting a pair of score, giving him nine on the year. Jackson now has 11 TDs.

Tampa Bay built a 35-21 halftime lead on Hippeard’s 14 of 19 completions and four touchdowns, besides the onside five-yard touchdown return by Chris Smith that gave the Storm a 21-7 lead at 13:45 of the second quarter.

Hippeard’s 172 first-half yards was impressive, some passes with a soft touch and six of them to Amarri Jackson, who had 87 of his total.

Radabaugh was just as effective in the opening panels, connecting on 17 of 21 for 159 yards and three scores. Neither quarterback had a first-half interception. The Storm’s biggest lead in the half was 35-14 on an Amarri Jackson 18 yard catch from Hippeard. But, Philly wasn’t done as the Soul scored with 10 seconds left in the second period on a two-yard grab from Radabaugh.

The Tampa Bay Storm will be on the road the next two weeks. First, the Storm travels to Jacksonville next Friday to take on the Division rival Sharks. Game time is 7:30 p.m. (EDT).

The following week, Tampa Bay invades Orlando for the second of three “War on I-4” games. The Storm plays at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena starting at 8 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, April 19.

Both games will be broadcast on radio 1250 AM (WHNZ) in Tampa Bay with Jack Harris and Derek calling all the action. Air time for both games is one half hour before the start time.

The next home game on the Amalie Motor Oil Field at the Tampa Bay Times Forum will be Saturday, April 26, against the Spokane Shock. Game time is 7:30 p.m. (ET).