TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Storm snapped its five-game losing streak with an impressive 56-35 victory versus the Jacksonville Sharks Saturday night at AMALIE Motor Oil Field at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“The morale of our team is up,” head coach Lawrence Samuels said. “With that being up, we have a chance now. The guys know it, they’re up beat and that’s the way we want to keep it.”
“We were in a slump for a little bit,” quarterback Randy Hippeard said. “To come out and fire on all cylinders with our backs against the wall it was a great pick me up for us, our season isn’t over.”
The win also avenged a 60-41 loss to their South Division opponent on April 11, as the Storm improved to 2-9 overall against the Sharks.
Hippeard, who missed last Saturday’s game, worked hard to return to the lineup after being injured against the Portland Thunder during Week 8 and made an immediate impact for Tampa Bay.
Coming out to a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter, Hippeard converted back-to-back touchdowns to start the contest.
“Last week not to be out their fighting with them was a little bit tough,” Hippeard said. “Having the Bye Week really helped and we did a lot of things differently to keep their defense off balance.”
The first of the two came after four short plays when Joe Hills converted an 8-yard pass from Hippeard. It was Hills’ 27th consecutive game with a touchdown.
Despite Jacksonville eating up five minutes off the clock on its very next drive, the Storm allowed the Sharks to gain just 15 yards, as they fell short on 4th-and-8. Hills earned his second touchdown on the ensuing possession to help them go ahead 14-0.
The Sharks earned its first touchdown of the game at 1:20 of the first quarter. R.J. Archer threw an 8-yard pass to London Crawford, however 3:04 later, at the start of the second, Tampa Bay re-gained their 14-point lead.
Once again Jacksonville threatened at the end of the first half, cutting the lead to seven, but the Storm responded by taking a commanding 42-21 lead compliments of a pair of touchdowns in the last second of play. Tampa Bay scored a total of 28 points in the second quarter alone.
The Storm continued its surge in the third by adding 14 additional points to their total, while the Sharks could only manage 14 more throughout the rest of the game. By the fourth quarter Tampa Bay also cooled off offensively, but nursed Jacksonville fell to 3-7 on the season.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay faces another South Division rival, the VooDoo Friday in New Orleans. They then return home on Saturday, June 7 to face the Philadelphia Soul for the third and final time this season at a special start time of 5:00 p.m.