Tampa Bay Storm hold on for 35-34 victory over New Orleans VooDoo
Saturday May 30, 2015
TAMPA BAY, FL – Defensive back James Harrell, who had two interceptions, continued his onslaught of opposing offenses as Tampa Bay shutdown New Orleans at key times in the second half and the Storm held on for a 35-34, win Saturday in an Arena Football League game at Amalie Arena.
The Storm (4-5, 2-1) in the American-South broke a two-game loss string and New Orleans (2-8, 0-4) lost its fourth straight AFL contest on the Amalie Motor Oil Field. Tampa Bay is 2-4 and the VooDoo 1-6 in Conference play.
Harrell collected his sixth interception of the season with 51 seconds remaining in the game on the Storm seven yard line to preserve the win after the VooDoo kicker Garrett Lindholm missed an extra point with 5:52 left in the fourth period.
T.T. Toliver, the second-leading receiver all-time in the AFL – coming in with 1,039 career grabs – led the Storm with 86 receiving yards on six catches, but Julius Gregory had a career-high nine receptions, 74 yards and three touchdowns for the Storm.
Boltus, who had an 81-yard first quarter, was only 4-of-9 in the second, started to click in the 3rd period when he connected on back-to-back TD passes to Gregory for 4 and Kendrick Ings for 29 yards. That gave the Storm a 35-28 lead with three minutes left. Boltus was 8-of-10 in the third for 79 yards. Gregory, the rookie out of Shaw University, had a long pass of 15 yards.
Boltus had five TD passes and ran for 6 yards.
The tightened up defense of the Storm in the shutdown-third stanza was highlighted by a forced fumble and recovery by lineman Everett Dawkins and Harrell, respectively, along with an interception by Rick J-Hill.
After Tampa Bay took a 14-7 first-quarter lead, Johnny Lester had a pair of second-quarter touchdowns that ignited the VooDoo to a 28-21 halftime margin.
Following a 4-yard Lester touchdown run at 6:52 of the second (on a nine play, 43-yard drive), the rookie receiver caught a 19-yard pass from Brian Reader. The touchdown was setup by Cameron McGlenn’s 31-yard pass interception return.
With 27 seconds left in the first half, backup fullback Roosevelt Falls rambled eight yards for a score, giving the VooDoo a 28-21 lead at the break.
The Storm are on the road next Saturday, June 6, when they travel to Phoenix to meet the Arizona Rattlers. Tampa Bay holds a 10-5 margin in wins over the Rattlers. The two teams last met on May 1, 2010, on the Amalie Motor Field with the Storm winning, 62-61.
The next home game at Amalie Arena for the Storm is against the Jacksonville Sharks on Friday, June 12. Kickoff for the ESPN News game is 7 p.m.