Third Time’s The Charm: Storm Finally Take Down Gladiators
On a night where the Cleveland Gladiators celebrated the recent success of their hometown basketball team on “Cleveland Cavaliers Night”, the Tampa Bay Storm decided to contribute by defeating the Gladiators in true NBA fashion. With a buzzer-beating, game-winning touchdown reception.
Storm WR Julius Gregory hauled in the game-winning score and led the way offensively for the Storm with nine total receptions for 108 yards and the two touchdowns. Gregory, who essentially appeared out of nowhere a few weeks ago, now has caught 33 passes for 369 yards and 12 touchdowns in the past four games.
Perhaps the most surprising element of this game was how everything that needed to go the Storm way… did. Everything that the Storm couldn’t have bounce their way in previous games… finally did. Successful two point conversion? Check. Onside kick recovery? Check. A signature, well-earned road victory? Check.
The Storm have now played twelve regular season games and thanks to an unusual scheduling quirk, Friday night was already the third matchup with these Gladiators. While the Storm dropped the first two, and four straight overall to the Gladiators, the 52-48 win on this night gives Tampa Bay its first winning streak of the 2015 season.
The final moments of this game however, didn’t come without the classic Storm scare. After Gregory’s clutch TD in the final moments, an “unnecessary celebration” penalty on the ensuing kickoff by Storm kicker Craig Peterson gave the Gladiators one untimed down from midfield. Quite the story that could have turned into.
While it’s been easy, very easy, to point out the lack of signature, marquee road wins for this Storm team the last couple seasons (I may have mentioned it a couple times) tonight was great to see. As cliché as it may sound, just when you think the Storm are done, they pull it out. First winning streak of the year? An even .500 record of 6-6? Right in the thick of a division race? Tampa Bay Storm football is back. And hopefully here to stay.