TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm (7-2) hosts the Washington Valor (1-8) this Saturday, July 1st at AMALIE Arena on AMALIE Motor Oil Field. A win for the Storm will put its record at 8-2, its best start since the 2003 season. The team can also clinch a home postseason game with a win. This would be the first home postseason game since the 2010 season. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
This will be the teams’ fourth meeting this season, and third in Tampa. The Storm holds an overall record of 3-0 versus the Valor and a home record of 2-0. Last time out, Tampa Bay defeated Washington by a score of 58-57. The Storm has faced a Dean Cokinos-led team a total of 12 times, and it holds a winning record of 8-4 against him, the most victories against any active AFL head coach.
The Storm enters the game coming off a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Soul. The team will look to bounce back versus a reeling Washington Valor team that has lost eight straight games. Three of the Valor’s losses have come at the hands of the Storm. While the Storm is 3-0 versus Washington, the wins haven’t come without a fight. Last time out, Storm defensive back LaRoche Jackson preserved a 58-57 lead with a game-winning pass breakup.
Offensively, the Storm will hand the ball to early League MVP candidate, Randy Hippeard. The 4-year veteran is having an outstanding season, leading the League in passing average/game (276.6), pass efficiency (123.4), and completion percentage (68.9%). The team has seen success offensively with LaMark Brown, Kendrick Ings, and Joe Hills. This week the team will debut the latest addition to the offense, Kendal Thompkins. Thompkins is a three-year veteran with 198 catches for 2,695 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Quarterback Sean Brackett will be under center for the Valor. On June 10 versus the Storm, Bracket completed 72.2% (26-of-36) for 299 yards and seven touchdowns, his best start of the season. Much of the night’s success should be credited to wide receiver Charles McClain. The speedy receiver caught nine passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns, giving the Storm defense fits. If the Storm wants to slow down a potentially dangerous Valor offense, it will need to shut down McClain.
Look for the Storm to regroup versus the Valor. Not only would a win give the Storm its best start in 14 years, but it would also earn its first home postseason game since 2010.