The Tampa Bay Storm (6-4, 2-3) heads to the Wells Fargo Arena to take on the Iowa Barnstormers (4-6, 1-3) Saturday, June 1 at 8:05 PM ET.
This will be the 11th time these two franchises have met, with the series tied at 5-5 and Iowa holding an eight point margin of victory. The series history is full of memorable moments, including the greatest game ever played – ArenaBowl X. A game that saw the Kurt Warner-led Barnstormers fall to the Storm by a score of 42-38, earning Tampa Bay its then fourth ArenaBowl championship.
Saturday’s match will be the first time these two teams have met since April 18, 2008, when the Barnstormers were operating as the New York Dragons. The Storm has traveled to play this franchise a total of three times, and possesses a 2-1 road record. Saturday will mark the first time Tampa Bay has played in Iowa since May 25, 2000. The Storm is 1-1 when playing in Des Moines.
Both squads are coming into this contest having recently suffered a loss. The Barnstormers are currently riding a two-game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming against the Arizona Rattlers by the score of 70-26. The Storm dropped its latest match against the Philadelphia Soul by the score of 73-55.
Having been plagued by injuries to four starters before their most recent match, the Barnstormers look to make a comeback against Tampa Bay as the team tries to push for first place in the Central Division.
The Storm will look to break the “loss-win-loss” pattern against an Iowa team that boasts one of the best defenses in the league, holding opponents to an average of 46.4 points per game. Storm Quarterback Adrian McPherson continues to lead the league in rushing with 345 yards for 26 touchdowns but he may have a tough time getting through the Iowa defensive line; a line that allows a mere 19.6 rushing yards per game, good for fifth in the AFL.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Barnstormers are led by quarterback J.J. Raterink. Raterink has completed 187-of-314 passes for 2,285 yards, 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions. However, the team may be without its main signal caller due to an injury sustained during last week’s matchup against Arizona. The receiving corps. is led by Marcus Harris who has 58 receptions for 851 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. Look for him to be the team’s primary receiver in this week’s game.
Defensively for the Storm, the team will look to get back to what made it a force earlier in the season. The team’s defensive line will try and apply pressure on Iowa, and force it to make mistakes. Pressure will create turnovers, and will hopefully help an opportunistic backfield get back on track. Currently the Storm defensive backfield is tied for second in the league with 18 interceptions.