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Rookie-filled Tampa Bay Storm faces experienced Philadelphia Soul

TAMPA — The Storm looks to remain in first place in the American Conference's South Division this week when it faces Philadelphia tonight in its third of five nationally televised games on the NFL Network.

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Philadelphia enters with the best record in the American Conference, 4-1, and tied with Chicago for the league's top mark. A Storm (3-2) win coupled with a Georgia loss to Orlando tonight would put the Storm in sole possession of first place in the division.

"Right now (Philadelphia is) playing at an extremely high level," coach Dave Ewart said.

The Soul has an experienced team; just two rookies are on the roster. The Storm has 10 rookies.

"That's a huge advantage for (Philadelphia) because they are such a veteran-laden club," Ewart said. "It takes three or four years to get things right in this league, and they have a roster full of guys like that."

Scouting Philly: This is the teams' seventh meeting; the series is tied at 3. Philadelphia's offense enters ranked No. 1 in the league averaging 72.4 points per game, and it is fifth at 311.2 yards per game. Dan Raudabaugh has the second-highest QB rating. LB Joe Goosby has a team-high 24 tackles and has returned three interceptions for touchdowns.

Prechae returns: Prechae Rodriguez, the Storm's leading receiver, is expected to play tonight after missing last week's game against Cleveland with concussion symptoms. Rodriguez leads Tampa Bay in catches (43), yards (572) and touchdowns (13).

Getting By: QB Stephen Wasil threw for six TDs and ran for two in last week's win against Cleveland but also threw a pair of interceptions. It was the fourth time in five games Wasil was been intercepted at least twice.

Recognition: After dropping out of the AFL coaches poll last week, the Storm returned this week at No. 9.

Transactions: The team signed defensive back and former Pinellas Park standout Sam Smith this week. Smith, who had four interceptions in 16 games for Iowa last season, played collegiately at Delaware State. Tampa Bay placed DB Riley Swanson, who leads the team with two interceptions, on injured reserve with a separated shoulder.

"It's tough because Riley was a real leader back there," Ewart said. "We were lucky to have a local guy like Sam ready to go. We like him a lot."

.tonight

Storm at Philadelphia

When/where: 8; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia TV/radio: NFL Network; 1250-AM

Rookie-filled Tampa Bay Storm faces experienced Philadelphia Soul 04/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:03pm]
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