Tampa Bay Storm Defeat Philadelphia Soul, 51-48

By on April 17, 2011


Tampa Bay Storm at Philadelphia Soul
April 15, 2011
Wells Fargo Center – 12, 893
Philadelphia, PA

PHILADELPHIA – Storm rookie kicker Kyle Chilton nailed a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Tampa Bay Storm defeated the Philadelphia Soul in its home opener Friday at the Wells Fargo Center in front of 12,893 fans.

“I am proud of the guys and thankful coach Ewart had faith in me to go out there and give me a shot,” said Chilton.

The Tampa Bay Storm defense, lead by the three sacks  from returning veteran nose guard Tim McGill, provided the platform for rookie quarterback Grant Gregory and the Storm offense to come from 15 down late in the second half.

“I felt when we were down 15 if we could get a score we would be in it and have a shot,” said Gregory.  “I thought the defense could get us a stop and they did, they got two stops and that won us the game.”
Gregory was 23-of-29 for 211 yards with six touchdowns in his first win as a starter for the Storm, who move to 2-3 on the season. Four of those touchdowns ended up in the hands of veteran receiver Hank Edwards, who caught 10 passes for 74 yards.
Chilton sealed the win for the Storm with a 30-yard field goal as time expired, putting a damper on the Soul’s first home game since the 2008 American Conference Championship game. Philadelphia quarterback Ryan Vena was 18-of-33 for 225 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in the loss. Vena also added two touchdowns on the ground, making him responsible for six of the Soul’s seven tallies.

After putting up a goose egg in the third quarter, the Storm scored 22 unanswered points to start the fourth quarter before a 33-yard touchdown pass from Vena to Soul receiver Syvelle Newton knotted the score up again at 48 with less than a minute in the game.
Philadelphia (1-4) opened the scoring when Ryan Vena found a hole in the Storm defensive line for a nine-yard touchdown run, the first of his two on the night. The Storm answered immediately after a big kick return from AFL leading kick returner Michael Lindsey. His 43 yard run-back set up a three-yard one-handed diving touchdown catch in the back of the endzone by receiver Hank Edwards.
 The Storm and Soul traded two scores each over the next four possessions, the last of which saw the Storm recover a 26-yard field goal attempt from kicker Kyle Chilton to set up a nine-yard touchdown catch for wide receiver Huey Whittaker on the first play following the recovery. Whittaker finished the game with five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Following a 12-yard kick return for a touchdown on an onside kick by Soul defensive back Tanner Varner setting the score at 28-20, the Storm looked to march down the field in an attempt to keep things close going into the half. With one minute left in second quarter, Gregory engineered a five play, 41-yard touchdown drive ending in a four-yard touchdown throw to receiver Amarri Jackson. Gregory was five of five for 36 yards on the drive to close out the half, leaving the Storm down by just two.
 The Storm pass rush came alive in third quarter, sacking the Soul’s Ryan Vena three times. Linemen Jarriet Buie and Tim McGill each recorded their first sacks of the season while linebacker Cliff Dukes added to his league leading total, recording his seventh of the season. McGill’s second sack of the evening helped set up a turnover on downs with 9:05 left in the fourth quarter. Gregory and Edwards met up again to score on the resulting possession to tie the score at 41.
 On the Soul’s next drive, defensive back Erick McIntosh intercepted a misplaced pass from Vena. The Gregory-to-Edwards show continued as the tandem hooked up for the fourth time in the endzone as the Storm took the lead for the first time in the game on the four yard touchdown pass.
The Storm will head back to Tampa Bay as they take on the Dallas Vigilantes next Saturday, April 28th 2011 at the St. Pete Times Forum.  Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM EST.  For tickets: log on to tampabaystorm.com, call (813)-301-2500, or visit the McDonald’s Box Office at the St. Pete Forum.

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