TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm (5-1) hosts the Baltimore Brigade (2-4) this Saturday, June 3rd at AMALIE® Arena on AMALIE Motor Oil Field on “Military Appreciation Night” presented by Laser Spine Institute. The Storm will look to improve its record to 6-1 and extend its winning streak to five games, its longest streak since 2014. Fans will be able to catch the action at TampaBayStorm.com. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
This will be the second meeting this season between the Storm and Baltimore, and the first time the Storm will welcome the Brigade into its home. Last time out, Tampa Bay defeated Baltimore by a score of 62-55. This will be the fourth time the Storm has faced an Omarr Smith-led team. Smith holds a winning record of 2-1 over the Storm.
The Storm enters the game coming off its second bye week of the season. During week seven, the Storm defense set the tone versus the Valor. The team corralled its fourth interception of the season, with the defensive line tallying four sacks on the night. Tampa Bay now has 10 sacks on the season, eclipsing its total from 2016 (8).
Offensively, the team continues to impress. Offensive Player of the Year candidate Joe Hills caught 11 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns versus the Valor on May 20th. He’s reeled in 60 passes for 590 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. In addition, the Palmetto native has caught a touchdown in 74 consecutive regular season games, needing just five to surpass Damian Harrell’s record of 78.
Storm kicker Mark Lewis will also be making history this weekend as he will be playing in his 200th career game. A 12-year veteran of the AFL, Lewis will be just the fourth player in League history to accomplish this feat. He will join AFL Hall of Famers, Aaron Garcia (237), the Storm’s very own Lawrence Samuels (207), and Kyle Moore-Brown (206).
On the other side of the ball the Storm will face a Baltimore Brigade team that is coming off of an impressive 63-60 win over the Cleveland Gladiators. The game came down to the final possession which saw the Brigade defense answer the call. In a game that saw six lead changes in the final quarter, the Brigade would hold strong, keeping Cleveland out of the end zone on consecutive plays with just 10 seconds left in regulation.
Baltimore’s offensive engine is run by rookie quarterback Shane Carden. The former East Carolina standout continues to improve his game from week-to-week. Versus the Gladiators, Carden completed 21-of-30 passes for 272 yards and six touchdowns. He does tend to be careless with the ball when under pressure, throwing eight interceptions on the season. He currently averages 1.3 interceptions per game. Look for the Storm defense to apply the pressure to force Carden into making mistakes.
Both teams come into the game hungry. Baltimore will look to earn its 3rd win of the season, separating itself from the one-win teams of Washington and Cleveland. On the other hand, the Storm will look to continue its winning ways and prove that it is for real.