The Tampa Bay Storm (8-2) will head to Cleveland to take on the Gladiators (3-8) this Saturday, July 8 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Storm will be looking to earn its ninth win of the season, the most wins since the 2010 season. The game will be streamed live on Twitter. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
This will be the 23rd meeting between the Storm and Gladiators, and third of the season. The series has a tied record of 11-11, but the Storm holds a losing record of 3-5 when facing the Gladiators on the road. Last time out, the Storm defeated the Gladiators 62-61. Tampa Bay holds a winning record of 3-0 over Cleveland head coach, Ron Selesky.
The Storm enters the game following another thrilling final-minute victory over the Washington Valor. Down 10 points with a minute left, the Storm offense reeled off 14 points to secure the team’s eighth win of the season, and the team’s first winning season since 2010. With 10 seconds left in regulation, Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard found Kendrick Ings for the score. HIppeard, an early MVP candidate, continued his impressive season, completing 24-of-37 passes for 250 yards and five touchdowns. He would also rush three times for 11 yards and a score.
Kendrick Ings once again showed why he is an all-arena candidate at wide receiver and kick returner. The second-year veteran led this past weekend’s game with 11 catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He would also have six kick returns for 161 yards, including a 56-yard return for a touchdown.
Ings, a Miami, Florida native, has started to cement himself as one of the elite receivers and returners in the League, finding himself in the top-five of several League categories including: all purpose yards (1st-1,651), all purpose yards per game (1st-165.1), kick return average (1st-20.6), kick returns (1st-40), kick return yards (1st-824), kick return TDs (T1st-2), points scored (4th-108), receptions per game (4th-7.4), receiving yards (4th-812) and receptions (3rd-74).
Cleveland returns to the field after suffering a 31-point (59-28) defeat to the Philadelphia Soul on June 24th. The team will be looking to get back on track with a win over the Storm. Quarterback Arvell Nelson, a usually efficient signal caller for Cleveland, completed just 18-of-36 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns versus Philadelphia. He also threw four interceptions and currently ranks second in the League with 10 interceptions thrown.
However, Nelson can change the course of a game with his speed and ability to move in the pocket. Last time these two teams met, Nelson threw for 358 yards and seven touchdowns, connecting on 26-of-35 passing attempts. The Storm defense will need to contain him to improve its chances of winning.
Both teams will be coming out with a purpose. The Gladiators will be looking to improve its position in the standings, while the Storm will be looking to increase its win total and build upon its season success.