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Tampa Bay Storm defense stops Orlando in exciting AFL contest, 35-34

Saturday June 21, 2014

 TAMPA BAY – Quarterback Randy Hippeard led the offense, but it was the Tampa Bay defense that held the Orlando Predators to one second-half touchdown, including none in the third period, as the Storm defeated the Preds, 35-34, Saturday night in an exciting Arena Football League game on the AMALIE Motor Oil Field in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Known as “The War on I-4,” the Storm (8-6, 4-3) have now won five straight games, a streak they last made in 2010. Orlando (8-6, 6-2) continues to lead the AFL’s American Conference South, and had previously beaten the Storm early in the season.

Hippeard scored the final touchdown of the game at 3:12 on a three-yard rush, when he dropped back to the seven yard line and faked a pass. It was his third rushing score of the game and fifth total with one pass each to Joe Hills and Amarri Jackson.

Hippeard was 25-of-38 for 220 yards and Hills had 10 catches for 81 yards to lead the Storm. Greg Carr had a game-high 129 yards on 10 catches with two touchdowns. Predators’ quarterback Bernard Morris was 18-of-28 for 194 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensive back Rod Issac intercepted his fourth pass of the season with less than a minute to go. He ran the ball back to the six yard line with 48 seconds remaining. The Storm then ran the clock out.

Orlando held a 27-21 halftime lead as the Predators scored with 10 seconds remaining. Morris connected with Kendal Thompkins for 19 yards and the touchdown and Mark Lewis added the extra point.

In the third quarter, the Storm’s defense came alive when Harrell collected his second interception of the game and fifth in the last five games.

That setup a three-play drive as Hippeard connected with Jackson for a 24 yard strike. Juan Bongarra kicked the extra point and the Storm led, 28-27.

Orlando was stopped again when Morris was sacked by lineman Jammie Kirlew for nine yards. Morris fumbled and lineman Uriah Grant recovered on the Preds’ 23-yard line.

UP NEXT – The Tampa Bay Storm will head to Cleveland to take on the Gladiators at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday, June 27. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.