Thunder Rocks Storm in Tampa's 4th straight loss
By: Will Ogburn
On Saturday night, the Portland Thunder faced off against the Tampa Bay Storm at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This is the first time these two teams have played each other. This game was a battle between the AFL's youngest (Thunder) and oldest (Storm) franchises.
In the first half, Portland's defense came out aggressive, causing two incomplete passes and forcing a fumble on Tampa Bay's first drive. The Thunder scored on their first offensive drive, with Quarterback Danny Southwick connecting on a 28 yard pass to Alvance Robinson. Tampa Bay would score on their next drive, on a Randy Hippeard 24 yard pass to receiver Jos Hills. Portland would dominate most of the half, Danny Southwick throwing 4 more touchdowns on just 11 plays of offense. Portland's defense also came to play, stopping the Storm from scoring until the last 20 seconds of the half.
The score at the half is 33-14. Quarterback Danny Southwick has 138 yards on 10 of 13 pass completions. Storm Quarterback Randy Hippeard has 129 passing yards and has completed 11 of his 31 passing attempts. Portland's Duane Brooks and the Storm's Amarri Jackson lead their teams in receptions and receiving yards at the half.
Tampa Bay came in to the third quarter with a completely different attitude, with Randy Hippeard and Joe Hills connecting for 2 Storm touchdowns. This gave the Storm 21 unanswered points. The Thunder would score for their first time of the half on a Eric Rodgers 9 yard reception. Portland would sack Tampa Bay on their next drive, causing a safety to put the score at 42-28. Storm Quarterback Randy Hippeard was injured on the play and would not return. The Storm showed some defense of their own, when Rod Issac returned a 32 yard interception for a touchdown. This made the score 42-34 at the end of the quarter.
The 4th quarter was controlled completely by the Portland Thunder. Danny Southwick connected with receiver Eric Rodgers on two of the Thunder's final offensive possessions. The final score of the game was 61-42. This is Tampa Bay's fourth loss in a row and Portland's second win in a row. Tampa Bay will go into a bye week before facing the Philadelphia Soul on May 17." We need continue staying focused and sticking together. We have 10 more games to go, So we can't get down on ourselves." said Coach Samuels.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game - Danny Southwick (POR)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game - Rod Issac (TB)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game - Michael Lindsey (TB)