Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Storm

Storm falls to Predators again

ORLANDO — For the second time this season, the Storm put up plenty of points against the rival Predators.

For the second time, it wasn't enough.

Tampa Bay (3-3) lost to Orlando 77-65 on Saturday night at CFE Arena on UCF's campus. The Predators (4-2) took the South Division lead by a game and have won the first two meetings in the season series.

The Storm trailed 41-32 at halftime, but the team's offense came alive early in the second half. Dexter Jackson's 11-yard touchdown reception from Randy Hippeard opened the scoring in the third quarter.

After Orlando responded with a touchdown but failed on the conversion, the Storm struck again on Hippeard's 8-yard touchdown pass to T.T. Toliver. The extra point brought Tampa Bay within a point, but the Storm never got closer.

Toliver finished with 12 receptions for 136 yards and five touchdowns. Hippeard completed 31 of 43 passes for 380 yards and nine touchdowns.

The game turned on an onside kick recovered by the Predators late in the third quarter after a touchdown. Orlando scored again, putting the Storm into a 15-point hole. The Orlando defense then forced Hippeard into an interception and scored on Gregg Carr's 41-yard reception for a 68-46 lead.

Michael Lindsey caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown for the Storm and also returned seven kicks for 110 yards, leaving the former Boca Ciega High standout 34 yards short of breaking George LaFrance's team record for career kickoff return yards.

This was the highest-scoring of the 54 meetings in the "War on I-4" (Orlando leads 28-26). The teams meet again June 21 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Orlando offense was led by Jason Boltus, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 365 yards and nine touchdowns. His top target was Greg Carr, who had seven receptions for 145 yards and four touchdowns.