The Tampa Bay Storm (7-10, 2-3) heads to Orlando to take on the 2015 South Division Champion, Predators (11-6, 4-1) this Saturday, August 8 at Amway Center. While the Storm failed to make the playoffs, the team is still looking for revenge after dropping the first two meetings versus the Predators earlier in the season. Fans can listen to Jack Harris and Darek Sharp make the call for 1250 AM WHNZ and also listen live on the Lightning Power Play which can be found on the iHeartRadio app or TBLPowerPlay.com. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. EST.
This is the 57th meeting between these two storied franchises, 50th regular season meeting and the 25th in Orlando. The Predators lead the overall series 30-27, with Orlando having scored 65 total points more than the Storm. Orlando leads the season-series 2-0, with its latest win coming on July 11. In that meeting the Storm drove to the one yard line with three seconds left in regulation. While it appeared the team called a timeout, the referees did not see it and the Storm failed to get a final play off in time. With the sting of that loss still on its mind, look for the Storm to come out looking for revenge, ending the season on a positive note.
Once again the Storm will be led by quarterback Jason Boltus, who has put up tremendous numbers in the current Storm offense. Currently Boltus only needs 69 more passing yards to surpass Shane Stafford (4,793) for second most in Storm single-season history. He also needs just one passing touchdown to surpass former Storm and current Predators quarterback Randy Hippeard (93) for second most passing touchdowns in Storm single-season history.
Defensively, the Storm backfield will be led by a pair of All-Arena candidates in Alfred Phillips and James Harrell. Phillips is the League leader in pass breakups with 39 and is second in passes defended (42) and tackles (105.0). His presence in the backfield has altered games for the Storm, allowing the team to excel at man coverage. His teammate Harrell has also proved to be a game changer with his playmaking ability. Harrell has a nose for the ball, hauling in seven interceptions on the season and 13 for his career.
Last week the Predators put together won of its best performances of the season, outscoring the Sharks 43-13 over the second and third quarters. A strong offensive and defensive showing by the Predators shut the door on the Sharks, clinching the team’s second South Division title in as many years.
For the Storm to win, it must shut down a very efficient offense that is fourth in passing efficiency and can put points on the board quickly, with the team averaging 56.7 points per game. Defensively, the Predators are opportunistic with a backfield that has a knack for getting to the ball and scoring. Predators defensive back Terence Moore leads the team with four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. In the teams’ first meeting, Moore returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, putting Orlando within striking distance.
While the Storm is not playing for the playoffs, it is playing for its fans. Look for the Storm to come out strong in the final battle of the “War on I-4” in 2015.