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Very little separates Tampa Bay Storm from Orlando Predators

Travis Coleman, bottom, strips the Storm’s Huey Whittaker in a 63-61 May 6 win that gives Orlando a 24-23 series lead.

Orlando Sentinel

Travis Coleman, bottom, strips the Storm’s Huey Whittaker in a 63-61 May 6 win that gives Orlando a 24-23 series lead.

TAMPA — Tampa Bay and Orlando resume their biannual "War on I-4" on Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum. How close has this rivalry been?

The Predators lead the series 24-23, including their 63-61 win on May 6. The Storm has scored just seven more points, 2,100-2,093. The teams have met seven times in the postseason with the Predators leading 4-3. And each team has defeated the other once to win the ArenaBowl.

Tampa Bay (5-7), which set a season high for points in Saturday's 62-55 win against visiting Pittsburgh, will have its hands full Friday. Orlando (8-4) has the Arena League's best offense, averaging 324.6 yards. QB Nick Hill is second in the league at 300.4 yards passing and has rushed for 343 yards, which is tops among quarterbacks and second overall.

Orlando also ranks first in the league with 29 interceptions, and DB Rayshaun Kizer is second with 12.

Breaking out: Tampa Bay QB Brian Zbydniewski was named the league's co-offensive player of the week for his performance against Pittsburgh. Zbydniewski was 24-of-34 for 372 yards and eight touchdowns. The yards, touchdowns and completion percentage (70.6) were career bests.

Record watch: Storm LB Cliff Dukes didn't get a sack against Pittsburgh, leaving the three-year veteran with 111/2 this season. Dukes, who went into the Pittsburgh game with sacks in three consecutive games, remains four shy of the league record with six games to play.

Transactions: OL George Bussey went on injured reserve with a right MCL sprain. Bussey is the third offensive lineman to land on IR, following Tom Kaleita and Manny Akah (knee sprains). Akah is eligible to return this week, but his availability for Friday won't be determined until tonight. DL Jarriett Buie, who was suspended for the Pittsburgh game, will take Bussey's roster spot.

Rankings: Jacksonville, which hosts the Storm on June 25, continues to sit atop the weekly coaches top 10 poll. The Sharks, whose 11-game winning streak is one shy of the league record, is No. 1 for the seventh consecutive week. The Predators are fourth. The Storm isn't ranked.

.Up next

Storm vs. Orlando

When/where: 8 p.m. Friday; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

TV/radio: NFL Network; 1250-AM

Tickets: (813) 301-6600; tampabaystorm.com

Very little separates Tampa Bay Storm from Orlando Predators 06/15/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 9:53pm]
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