The Tampa Bay Storm heads east to Orlando this evening looking to reignite the rivalry that is known as the renowned ‘War on I-4’. While the fans of both teams are sure to be excited, the players sounded just as amped to take the field, especially with implications, at least for the Storm, of climbing towards the top of the division standings.
“We’re excited and we’re ready to take the field,” wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez said. “It’s my first time playing in this rivalry in Orlando, so we’re definitely going to go out there and take it to them.”
Still, Rodriguez admits it is going to be no easy task given the unfriendly playing environment in Orlando.
“It’s a tough barn,” he added. “The crowd likes to get rowdy and we’re expecting for it to be a hostile environment.”
Echoing Rodriguez’s sentiments was fellow receiver Amarri Jackson, who said Orlando, despite its poor record, was not to be underestimated.
“Their record doesn’t say much about them,” Jackson said. “They’ve had some close losses, they’ve had changes in personnel and they’re getting to be a better football team. We’ve watched some film of them against San Jose, which is a great team, and they played them tight. They had a few miscues, so we’re going to try and force a lot of mistakes.”
“We’ve been in some tough facilities lately,” Jackson added. “Jacksonville was tough and we’ve been in those types of environments before, so we should be okay.”
While Orlando’s offense is not its strong suit, the Predators defense is something to be cautious of.
“They have a great secondary and they just added veteran Kenny McEntyre,” Jackson said. “They also filled in some spots at Jack with guys like Erik Harris. We have to take them out early and open up some things down the field.”
Storm quarterback Nick Hill mentioned not only the task at hand when he faces Orlando on the field, but also the emotions as he’ll face as he takes on his former team.
“I’m really excited just to go over there,” Hill said. “I spent a few years there and know some of the guys, so it will be fun. I’m not too worried about the atmosphere, I just know we have to go over there and do what we do best and what we’ve worked on the past couple of weeks.”
Hill, however, reiterated the importance of not getting too high or too low, and the significance of taking one game at a time to achieve the best results.
“The emotions will be high this week, being a rivalry game, but the bottom line is we got six games left and we need to win them all.”