Thrilling Overtime Rally Lifts Storm to Fourth Straight Victory
For the Tampa Bay Storm, Saturday night in Iowa turned out to be a true “barnburner” against the Barnstormers. A thrilling 62-56 overtime win was the Storm’s fourth straight and good for the longest winning streak since the 2010 season, the same season Tampa Bay played in the ArenaBowl.
While the win didn’t come easy for the Storm by any stretch, a sudden death overtime victory on the road is no easy feat. In fact, Tampa Bay did everything it could to give up the game late. Leading by 14 at the one minute warning, Iowa managed to find the endzone twice, successfully convert a two point conversion, and recover an onside kick.
With the score tied at 56 at the end of regulation and both offenses exchanging touchdowns practically the entire game, the tides shifted and it was the two defenses that played the largest role in overtime.
Storm QB Randy Hippeard, who completed 24 of 34 passes for 289 yards and six touchdowns, threw an interception on the opening drive of the overtime period. The turnover gave the Barnstomers a chance to win the game with points of any kind.
On the ensuing Iowa possession however, the Storm defense forced an impressive four down stand giving them the ball back. A Randy Hippeard 11 yard run into the endzone on second down would give the Storm a 62-56 win. It was Hippeard’s third rushing touchdown of the night.
It was an absolute critical win for a Storm team that was so easy to criticize for not being able to ever get over the hump and pick-up a clutch, road win. Well, with four straight wins and a 7-6 record, Tampa Bay has finally put themselves in position to contend.
The win also sets-up what should be an epic Southern Division showdown version of the “War on I-4” next week. The Storm trail Orlando by one game for the division and with Orlando owning the tiebreaker, Tampa Bay must finish with a better record than the Predators to claim the division crown.
As the Storm prepare for the biggest game this season, and probably the last couple seasons, it is important to recognize the complete turnaround Tampa Bay has accomplished. Once a dead in the water, lifeless 3-6 team has now become a contending, and frankly pretty dangerous 7-6 team. The offense has found a groove, the defense is doing just enough, and Tampa Bay Storm football is slowly returning back to form.
Connor Akeman is a freelance sports writer and aspiring radio broadcaster who resides in Tampa, FL. A Tampa native, he considers himself emotionally invested in the Rays, Buccaneers, and Lightning by enjoying season tickets to all three teams. He has followed the Storm since the early Tim Marcum days and can remember attending his first ever Arena Football game in 2007. Studying Mass Communications/Journalism, Connor graduated from the University of South Florida in May 2017. He has spent time with RantSports.com and has been published by the Orange County Register in Anaheim, CA as well as other outlets. He currently contributes to TheDailyStampede.com of SB Nation. You can follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorAkeman.