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Third Time’s The Charm: Storm Finally Take Down Gladiators

Connor Akeman
Friday June 19, 2015

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.  

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 and has been published by the Orange County Register in Anaheim, CA as well as other outlets. He currently contributes to of SB Nation. You can follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorAkeman.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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