NEW ORLEANS – The resurgence of the Tampa Bay Storm continued for a second straight week after defeating the New Orleans VooDoo 62-48 at Smoothie King Center Friday night.
The win not only gives Tampa Bay a glistening 2-0 record versus the VooDoo this season, but puts them within striking distance of first-place South Division rival, the Orlando Predators. Orlando faces the Barnstormers in Iowa Saturday evening.
"To rebound like we did, it's a tribute to the staff and the team," head coach Lawrence Samuels said.
The squad’s success is in much part due to quarterback Randy Hippeard. Fresh off of being named Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week in Week 11, Hippeard completed 18 of 35 pass for 212 yards and five touchdowns. He has now picked up a pair of victories since returning from injury last week.
"Hippeard has given us some energy and helped us play at a high level," Samuels said.
While the Storm and VooDoo started out neck-and-neck with each side scoring just seven points in the first 15 minutes of play, Tampa Bay jumped out to a 28-13 lead by half time.
The squads again exchanged touchdowns to begin the second, but the Storm broke out with back-to-back scores thereafter compliments of a 1-yard rush from Hippeard and a 19-yard interception return, his second of the season, from James Harrell.
"I was just thinking score," Harrell said.
Samuels also credited the Storm's turnaround to Harrell's excellent play.
"With the type of personnel we have on the field, this is something we envisioned," Samuels said. "He made two big defensive scores this week and he's playing at a high level."
Wide receiver T.T. Toliver also tied Mike Horacek and Arena Football Hall of Famer Cory Fleming with 235 career touchdown receptions. It is the seventh-highest career total in AFL history.
New Orleans re-gained composure in the second half, as each side scored two touchdowns apiece in the third and three in the fourth. Yet Tampa Bay’s offensive burst in the second quarter came back to haunt the VooDoo, who were unable to accomplish much on the defensive end of the ball.
Ryan Perriloux finished the night completing 17 of 34 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns for the VooDoo, as they fell to 2-8 on the season. It was their second straight loss and sixth out of there last seven tilts.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay returns to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to face the Philadelphia Soul for the second time in four weeks Saturday, June 7 at a special start time of 5:00 p.m. The two clubs have already played each other twice, splitting the two contests. The Storm then head to Iowa to face the Barnstormers in Week 14.