The Tampa Bay Storm (6-10, 2-3) hosts the LA KISS (4-12, 1-5) this Saturday, August 1 on “Fan Appreciation Night” at AMALIE Arena. This is a pivotal matchup in which the Storm’s playoff hopes hang in the balance. Fans can listen to Jack Harris and Darek Sharp make the call for 620 WDAE and also listen live on the Lightning Power Play which can be found on the iHeartRadio app or TBLPowerPlay.com. The game will also be broadcast on Bright House Sports Network (CH. 47/HD 1147). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.
This will be the first matchup in series history for these two teams, with the oldest AFL franchise meeting one of the youngest franchises in the League. However, this is not the first time KISS head coach Bob McMillen has faced Tampa Bay. McMillen has coached against the Storm and holds a 2-0 record over Tampa Bay as the former head coach of the Chicago Rush.
This is a crucial game for the Storm. After dropping the past four games, the team is looking for answers. In order to make the playoffs, the Storm will have to win the final two games of the season and will need the Cleveland Gladiators to lose its final two games; the road to the final American Conference Playoff spot starts on Saturday.
In order to win, Tampa Bay must find success in all phases of the game. In its past four losses, the Storm has given up an average of 65.3 points per game, while scoring an average of just 43.3 points per game. The team must find a way to get its offense moving, and that starts with getting its receiving corps going. The team has the weapons and capability of putting points on the board with a squad led by veteran T.T. Toliver, who ranks 7th in professional football history with 1,083 receptions.
Look for the team to tighten up defensively this game as well. Entering its matchup against the KISS, the Storm has allowed a touchdown on 17 straight possessions. In order to win, the Storm has to force turnovers and that starts up front. With a defensive line anchored by nose guard Richard Clebert, the Storm will look to force KISS quarterback Danny Southwick to make mistakes, allowing the defensive backfield to make plays and force turnovers.
The KISS offense is not without its share of weapons though. The team has veteran receiver Donovan Morgan who is one of the top-five active receivers of all-time. In last week’s game versus the Arizona Rattlers, Morgan led all KISS receivers with seven receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Morgan is also the leading scorer for the team, with 228 points on the season and his 38 touchdowns is tied for the 3rd most in the League this season.
This will not be an easy contest for the Storm. While the KISS has a 4-12 record, the team has kept all of its games competitive and almost upset the Rattlers this past weekend. The KISS erased a 34-point deficit, scoring 49 points in the second half versus Arizona pushing the Rattlers to the brink.
With the Storm’s playoff dreams on the line, look for a strong and competitive game. The team knows what is at stake and will do everything it can to prove it belongs in the playoffs this season.