AMALIE Motor Oil Field at AMALIE Arena | Tampa, Fla.
|Cleveland Gladiators (5-10)||13||19||7||20||59|
|Tampa Bay Storm (11-4)||14||17||13||29||73|
In the Tampa Bay Storm’s 73-59 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators to advance to ArenaBowl XXX, Storm wide receiver LaMark Brown put the final exclamation point on one of the greatest turnarounds in Arena Football League history.
Playing defense on the game’s final play and Cleveland all-but out of hope, Brown picked off Arvell Nelson’s final desperation heave toward the end zone and returned it to midfield before sliding to the turf and ending the game, setting off a raucous celebration inside AMALIE Arena following the Storm’s semifinal round victory. A year ago, Tampa Bay finished 2-14 and capped a dismal season with a 22-point loss in the opening round of the playoffs.
Under first year head coach Ron James, the Storm are now one game away from reaching the pinnacle of the Arena Football League.
“I tell (defensive coordinator Doug) Kay all the time back in high school I played free safety and running back, so it’s sort of a natural thing to do for me to go out there and play defense,” said Brown, who also caught eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown on offense. “I was excited about getting the opportunity to seal the game and get us into the ArenaBowl.”
The Storm earned their first playoff victory since 2010 and are in the ArenaBowl for the first time since that same 2010 season and 10th time overall.
TAM – Joe Hills seven-yard pass from Randy Hippeard (Mark Lewis kick) – 11:09
CLE – Quentin Sims seven-yard pass from Arvell Nelson (Drew Basil failed) – 6:29
TAM – LaMark Brown six-yard pass from Hippeard (Lewis kick) – 4:15
CLE – Sims 10-yard pass from Nelson (Basil kick) – 0:55
TAM – Hillls 14-yard pass from Hippeard (Lewis kick) – 14:14
CLE – Sims 18-yard pass from Nelson (Basil kick) – 13:06
TAM – Kendrick Ings 29-yard pass from Hippeard (Lewis kick) – 10:27
CLE – Jeramie Richardson one-yard rush (Basil failed) – 4:15
CLE – Sims two-yard pass from Nelson (Nelson pass failed) – 0:09
TAM – Lewis 30-yard Field Goal – 0:00
TAM – Hippeard one-yard rush (Lewis kick) – 13:15
CLE – Richardson two-yard rush (Basil kick) – 8:57
TAM – Hills 17-yard pass from Hippeard (Lewis failed) – 4:30
TAM – Ings three-yard pass from Hippeard (Ings pass) – 12:18
CLE – Michael Preston 12-yard pass from Nelson (Basil kick) – 8:53
TAM – Hills 14-yard pass from Hippeard (Lewis kick) – 6:18
CLE – Preston 34-yard pass from Nelson (Basil kick) – 3:35
TAM – Hills 11-yard kickoff return (Lewis kick) –3:14
CLE – Sims eight-yard pass from Nelson (Basil failed) – 0:53
TAM – Hippeard two-yard rush (Lewis kick) – 0:38
CLE – Arvell Nelson (27-40-1-322-7)
TAM – Randy Hippeard (24-33-0-313-7)
CLE – Arvell Nelson (4-13-0), Jeramie Richardson (7-5-2),
TAM – Randy Hippeard (5-8-2)
CLE – Quentin Sims (12-137-5), Michael Preston (7-91-2), Collin Taylor (6-27-0), Lonnie Outlaw (1-22-0)
TAM – Kendrick Ings (8-124-2), LaMark Brown (8-97-1), Joe Hills (7-78-4), Justin Hilton (1-14-0)
KO Returns: (No.-Yds-TD)
CLE – Kenny Veal (8-185-0)
TAM – Kendrick Ings (5-71-0), Michael Lindsey (2-15-0), Joe Hills (2-1-1)
Postgame Award Winners
Offensive Player of the Game: TAM, WR Joe Hills
Defensive Player of the Game: TAM, JLB Alvin Ray Jackson
MVP OF THE GAME: TAM, WR/KR Kendrick Ings