Storm Snap Losing Streak with Impressive Win over Deflated Sharks
Although Saturday night’ tilt between the 3-6 Tampa Bay Storm and Jacksonville Sharks didn’t exactly highlight this week’s matchup list, the Storm were able to come away with a much needed victory. While a 1-9 all-time record against the Sharks and a five game losing streak with plentiful amounts of injuries didn’t exactly favor Tampa Bay in this game, they somehow were able to jump all over the Sharks. The Storm jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and never gave that lead back in a 56-35 win.
Storm QB Randy Hippeard returned from injury and completed 21-of-29 passes for 255 yards and six touchdowns. It was big return for Hippeard and for this Storm team in general. The Storm were able to gel offensively and consistently the entire night for the first time in a very long time.
“We were in a slump for a little bit,” quarterback Randy Hippeard said. “To come out and fire on all cylinders with our backs against the wall it was a great pick me up for us, our season isn’t over.”
It was big return for Hippeard on Saturday night, and he made an immediate impact on this Storm team. It was a Storm team that had done nothing, ever against Jacksonville. Tampa Bay’s lone win over the Sharks was a fluke buzzer beating TD play all the way back in 2012.
“The morale of our team is up,” Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels said. “With that being up, we have a chance now. The guys know it, they’re up beat and that’s the way we want to keep it.”
Perhaps the game changing moment in this contest though happened with just one second remaining on the clock in the first half. The Storm, up just seven at the time, were able to strike for a quick TD on an impressive grab from WR T.T Toliver. That touchdown was followed by a net fumble recovery for a TD on the ensuing kickoff. 14 points in just one second for the Storm.
While the Storm offense was finally able to click, the Tampa Bay defense was also nothing to look past. Local Tampa product, DB James Harrell, recorded his first interception of the season and recovered the endzone fumble for the Storm. The 34 points allowed by the Storm was also the least amount given up so far this season.
If the Storm can have the Randy Hippeard we saw Saturday night, this ship might not be sunk just yet. At 4-6 now on the year, Tampa Bay trails Orlando by just two games for first place in the division. As has been the case for the past couple seasons, this Storm team has an abundant amount of talent and if it ever all finally comes together, they could be dangerous. A perfect opportunity looms once more for the Storm as they travel to New Orleans to face the 2-7 VooDoo next week.