Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Storm blows late lead in loss to Orlando

TAMPA — Tampa Bay was 45 seconds and a couple of rushes up the gut from starting the season 3-0 for the first time since 2001.

A fumble by quarterback Randy Hippeard gave Orlando new life, however. And the Predators scored the winning touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Jason Boltus to Greg Carr with six seconds left to escape the 53rd installment of the "War on I-4" with a 56-52 victory in front of 10,896 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday.

Orlando took a 27-26 lead (including the playoffs) in the series that dates to 1991.

"That loss goes to the back of your mind, and you worry about next week," Storm defensive back Chris Smith said.

Hippeard (17-of-32, 288 yards) threw seven touchdowns, including a 45-yarder to Michael Lindsey with 3:30 remaining to give the Storm a 10-point cushion.

Boltus found Kendal Thompkins for a 29-yard touchdown — on fourth and 19 — with 50 seconds to go to pull the Predators within three points.

Tampa Bay (2-1) appeared to have the victory wrapped up after recovering the ensuing onside kick. But Hippeard fumbled on first and goal from the 8. Orlando moved 40 yards in six plays, culminating in the sixth touchdown pass for Boltus (28-of-44, 337 yards) as the Predators became the lone Arena League team with a 3-0 record and moved into sole possession of first place in the South Division.

"We made a mistake at the end, but overall, I think we were good as a team," said the Storm's Amarri Jackson, who caught six passes for 83 yards and five touchdowns. "I don't know what the film's going to show Monday morning, but from my eyes, I thought we played pretty well.

"We just have to move forward and get ready for (Philadelphia on Friday)."

The Storm grabbed the lead, at 33-28, on its first drive of the second half when Jackson caught a pass from Hippeard at the 10 and juked a pair of defenders to reach the end zone. Smith picked off a pass at the goal line on Orlando's ensuing drive, and Jackson scored again, this time from 8 yards, for a 39-28 lead.

The Storm held Orlando scoreless in the third quarter with help from Smith's second interception of the game and league-leading fifth of the season. The Predators made it 39-34 on the first play of the fourth, a 22-yard run by Thompkins.

Jackson caught his fifth touchdown, this one from 17 yards, on the Storm's next drive to push the lead to 45-34.

Tampa Bay took its first lead, at 26-21, with 1:51 to go in the second quarter after Hippeard connected with Jackson on a 13-yard touchdown. Jackson's touchdown was the third of three straight scores for the Storm after falling behind 21-6.

But Orlando scored on the last play of the half, Carr's 14-yard touchdown catch from Boltus, to take a 28-26 advantage into the break.

Storm blows late lead in loss to Orlando 03/29/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 29, 2014 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.