TAMPA — The Storm gave defending Arena League champion Philadelphia a challenge, but the Soul pulled out a 56-52 victory before 9,071 at Tampa Bay's home opener Saturday at Amalie Arena.
Philadelphia (1-0) took control in the middle stages, scoring with five seconds left in the first half for a 29-25 advantage, then starting the third quarter with a seven-minute drive to lead 36-25.
Neither team made a stop in the second half, but the Storm thought it had one, and with a lead at that. Alvin Ray Jackson's fumble recovery was wiped out by a drifting call.
Then what replays appeared to show was a clear backward pass and recovery for a go-ahead touchdown return by Cortez Stubbs was called incomplete on the field. The Storm (1-1) lost the replay challenge. Philadelphia kept its 43-38 lead and extended the lead with 3:10 left in the game.
Tampa Bay was called for 14 penalties, many of them pass interference, for 100 yards. Philadelphia was called for five for 33 yards.
Kendrick Ings had a tremendous game for Tampa Bay, setting set a franchise record with 346 all-purpose yards, surpassing James Bowden's 345. Randy Hippeard threw for 292 yards and six scores and ran for a touchdown, and Joe Hills' touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 70.
The teams scored the same number of touchdowns, but Tampa Bay failed on four extra points.