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Tampa Bay Storm defeats Philadelphia Soul 51-48

PHILADELPHIA — Playing its first game in Philadelphia since winning an Arena League championship in 2008, the Soul led Tampa Bay for almost the entire game Friday night.

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Until the end.

Tampa Bay's Kyle Chilton kicked the winning 30-yard field goal for the Storm as time expired for a 51-48 win in front of 12,893 at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Storm (2-3) outscored the Soul 25-7 in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game losing streak. Rookie quarterback Grant Gregory, a former USF player, threw for 211 yards and six touchdowns for the Storm. Hank Edwards had a game-high four receiving touchdowns and 74 yards on 10 catches.

"Grant definitely made a step in the right direction tonight as far as … Arena Football," Edwards said. "He was seeing and throwing a lot quicker. He's only going to get better. He's a sharp guy and on his way right now."

The Soul (1-4) got two third-quarter touchdown passes from Ryan Vena to take a 41-26 lead, but the Storm dominated the fourth quarter. Vena was 18-of-33 for 225 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, and added two rushing TDs.

Storm fullback Eric Ortiz scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 13:32 remaining, and two of Edwards' touchdown catches, both 4 yards, came in the final eight minutes.

The Storm took the lead for the first time at 48-41 on Edwards' final TD catch, a 4-yarder, but Philadelphia tied it at 48 on a touchdown with 46 seconds left.

"We just believed and continued to fight," Storm receiver Huey Whittaker said. "It was a tough environment to play in, but we felt like we were going to win no matter what."

With Tampa Bay down 14-7 with 2:18 left in the first quarter, Gregory found Edwards for a 6-yard touchdown. Chilton missed the PAT and the Soul led 14-13.

"They were giving up the underneath throw, so we decided to take what they would give us," Edwards said. " … We had a great week of practice and have a great group of young guys who always work hard, and it carried over into tonight's game."

With 1:40 remaining before halftime, Chilton missed a 26-yard field goal, but the Storm got a second chance after Philadelphia fumbled. The Storm capitalized as Whittaker, a former USF and Springstead High receiver, plowed through a defender to pull the Storm within 21-20.

After another Soul touchdown, Gregory led a solid scoring drive for the Storm, completing three passes to former USF receiver Amarri Jackson, including a 4-yard touchdown. That pulled the Storm within two but Chilton's extra point was blocked and Philadelphia led 28-26 at halftime.

Storm 51

Philadelphia 48

Tampa Bay Storm defeats Philadelphia Soul 51-48 04/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:38am]
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