The Storm, formerly the Pittsburgh Gladiators (1987-90), head back to where it all started, as they take on the Pittsburgh Power this Saturday night. This will be their first appearance in Pittsburgh since their relocation to Tampa Bay in 1991, and the players are looking forward to making the trip.
“I’ve never been to Pittsburgh,” said Storm quarterback Nick Hill. “It should be a fun time, and I’m looking forward to going there.”
The Storm will also be looking forward to coming away with their first road win of the season, and hope to improve their chances of making the playoffs. This will not be a small task as the team is currently riding a four-game losing streak going into Saturday night’s contest.
If they are to make the playoffs, it will all start with a win over the Power; a team that has four wins, and is coming off their first victory on the field in 10 weeks. While Pittsburgh’s record of 4-11 may not seem too intimidating, the Power cannot be taken lightly.
“Pittsburgh is a very good team,” said Storm head coach Dave Ewart. “We’re facing another veteran team, and they are better than they’re record shows.”
According to Storm wide receiver Joe Hills, truer words were never spoken.
“Pittsburgh plays well, they just haven’t had the ball bounce their way,” said Hills.
Tampa Bay will have a tough task this weekend, as the Storm offense will be going up against a pass rush defense that is anchored by linebacker Anthony DeGrate and defensive end Dominick Pittman. DeGrate and Pittman have given opposing quarterbacks fits as they have combined for nine sacks on the season.
“The Power has a very good pass rush, with hard workers on both ends,” said Storm center Brad Serini. “We’ve got to block, work hard and stay on them in order to make plays.”
Protecting Hill will be of high priority for the Storm offensive line, as he looks to attack the defense with his receiving corp.
“At this point every team has been coached up,” said Hill. “We worry about what we can control, and the offense will need to help carry the load in this game.”
According to wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez, a successful attack on the defensive backfield is possible as long as the Storm execute the game plan.
“They are a tough squad, but we’ll do what we need to do in order to get open,” said Rodriguez. “We just need to stay focused, execute, and get this win before the season ends.”
Staying focused and executing the game plan will be the mantra of the Storm for the rest of the season. With a 6-9 record, they know that making the playoffs will be not be an easy feat, but the Storm welcome the challenge, knowing that every win helps improve their odds.
“You know, we still have a great chance to get into the playoffs,” said Hills. “We’re just looking for that win.”