It's a short week for the Tampa Bay Storm (0-5) and the Orlando Predators (6-0) as the latest version of the "War on I-4" takes place at the Amway Center on Friday the 13th. It will be the second meeting this season for the bitter AFL rivals. Dating back to 1991, Orlando leads the all-time series against Tampa Bay, 32-27. The Arena Football League’s 3,000th game proved to be historic for the Orlando franchise, as the win also marked the Predators’ largest margin of victory in the “War on I-4” rivalry.
The Predators won the first meeting 76-25 at Amalie Arena in Tampa in week 1. Orlando forced three interceptions and a fumble recovery while forcing three turnovers on downs.
Current AFL Offensive Player of the Week Randy Hippeard threw for 241 yards and six touchdowns before being relieved in the fourth quarter by Preds QB Bernard Morris, who threw two more TDs of his own. WR Greg Carr caught three of Orlando's first three touchdowns of the game before finishing with seven catches for 113 yards and four scores. WR Brandon Thompkins registered six receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns while WR LaMark Brown gained 105 yards on a team-high nine catches, including a 15-yard score.
3rd-year Predators head coach Rob Keefe says if Orlando wants to stay unbeaten, they cannot look past their rivals, “At the end of the day we have to stay humble and have a lot of humility involved. Tampa is a great opponent—the war on I-4 is for a reason. They know right now this is an opportunity for them to get back on track. They may not have the record that they want but they are still involved in the playoffs. They are still pushing to make it and for us right now we gotta make sure we don’t get too high on ourselves that will be the biggest test for us this week. It’s a short week, game is on Friday. We can’t make sure we can’t overlook Tampa Bay because we are high on ourselves to win and get to 7-0.”
3rd-year head coach Lawrence Samuels and the Tampa Bay Storm will try to end their winless streak behind QB Jonathan Bane who has passed for 526 yards and 8 touchdowns this season.
The Stormhave been outscored this season 257-125 in 5 losses this season. The 4th quarter has been Tampa Bay's worst quarter so far in 2016, getting outscored 75-23 in the final frame.
Predators fans will see a familiar face on Friday night as former Orlando fan favorite T.T. Toliver comes to town as a Storm wide reciever. Toliver, who played at BC-U, has 281 yards receiving and 5 TDs this season. Toliver has 282 career touchdown receptions and played for the Predators from 2007-2013.
Kickoff is set for 7:30pm Friday night and you can watch the game highlights on "Your Sports" on Bright House Sports Network.