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Toliver becomes best ever, Storm continue to be the worst… ever

Connor Akeman
Saturday June 11, 2016

Tip of the hat to you, TT Toliver. In the Storm’s 67-34 blowout loss to the Jacksonville Sharks on Saturday night, Toliver became the all-time leader in career receiving yards in the Arena Football League.

Toliver secured the record when he caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jason Boltus late in the second quarter. Toliver finished the game with eight catches for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Toliver is a true legend in this league and regardless of the outcome, he deserves endless praise and recognition for his accomplishments at age 39.

“It means a lot, but we want to win," said Toliver. "At the end of the day, records are made to be broken, but we are going to keep trying to get better…. I take full responsibility of not getting us started. I’m the leader of this team and need to do a better job of motivating us."

Now about the rest of the game…

What is it going to take to get some change around the now, not-so-friendly confines of Amalie Arena? A blowout loss to a winless team? Covered that last week. How about losing by more than THIRTY points in five of the now 10 games this season? Wrapped that mark up as well with this loss.

Things are getting beyond ugly, and for god’s sake, someone needs to stop the bleeding. Crowds are getting smaller, and interest in this Storm team is shrinking with each passing second.

“We did not show up at all… We are going to eliminate some of the distractions around here and evaluate each and every one of our players. It’s no excuse to have the mistakes that we do, I take full responsibility,” Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels said.

I usually like to include at least some kind of stats or highlights of the game at this juncture. However, I don’t have any. At least from a Storm perspective. Again, a big thank you to Toliver from bringing at least some bright light to the end of this very dark, “stormy” tunnel.

When asked about Toliver breaking the record, Coach Samuels said, “He is a special guy, and he is one of them that gives us effort day in and day out. He deserves everything that is coming to him.”

As far as highlights go, I suppose that I could tell you about Jacksonville’s DL Jordan Miller, playing in his first ever arena football game, returning an interception for a touchdown after the ball went in and out of the hands of Storm WR Julius Gregory. All 325 pounds of him rumbled into the end zone.

That pick-six by Miller really set the tone for how this game would go down, as it gave the Sharks an early 20-7 lead and it was all downhill for the Storm from there. With each progressing week, it seems like I might as well copy and paste. Much like the Tampa Bay Storm are beginning to copy and paste their efforts. The Storm don’t win, and they don’t even make it close. As Coach Samuels said, “It’s time to single out each and every one of our guys efforts as we look at the tape.” But at what point, if not already, should we question Samuels’ effort?

We'll find out more about this team when the Storm return home in a week against the Los Angeles KISS.

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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