The Storm (1-7, 0-4) came out tonight and finally got the job done winning their first game of the season against the Arizona Rattlers (6-3, 4-0), 63-56. After just barely losing their last two games in the final minute, T.T. Toliver came out ready for a change, scoring not only the winning touchdown with just three seconds left of play, but also his 100 th career catch for the Storm.
“I just go out there everyday and try to play my hardest,” Toliver said. “We came out today and executed our game plan. I’m excited for everybody.”
This was the Storm’s 18 th meeting with Arizona, and they now lead the matchup 11-7. A win today was what the team needed to finally turn the season around and get back to their winning ways.
Scoring for the Storm started with a touchdown by quarterback Jason Boltus who ran it in at the one-yard line. Gerald Young followed with another score off a 25-yard touchdown pass from Boltus to end the first quarter tied at 14-14.
Young made a huge run returning 56 yards off the kick for a touchdown to start off the second quarter. The Storm then turned the ball over to allow the Rattlers to jump two scores ahead of them leading the game 35-21.
After a hard hit to Boltus, Adam Kennedy came into the game and ran the ball in, to put one last touchdown on the board. Having an interception in the last two games wasn’t enough for
Cortez Stubbs who decided to do it again with 30 seconds left in the second, keeping them in the game and ending the half at 35-28 Arizona.
Boltus came out in the third tougher than ever, throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Barnett to tie it back up 35-35. Turning the ball over and allowing a couple touchdowns in by Arizona’s Chase Deader and Rod Windsor put the Storm two scores behind.
Unlike the other games, today was the day the Storm would do what they had been working on all week at practice, and that was finishing.
“We worked on a lot of stuff this week to be able to execute in a tight pressured game,” said Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels. “The guys came through. The guys finished today.”
Another touchdown by Barnett would make that his third of the game and single game career high. Toliver’s 100 th career Storm touchdown catch and a sack by Everett Dawkins with four minutes left to go shut the Rattlers down and left a crowd of 8,298 fans on their feet cheering.
Toliver then decided to score again off a 28-yard touchdown pass from Boltus, ending it all and giving the team their first season win.
Toliver led all receivers tonight with 182 yards on nine catches with two touchdowns. Boltus led the offense, completing 24-of- 39 passes for a game-high 358 yards and six touchdowns.
The Storm will hit the road looking for its second win of the season this Friday versus Portland Steel (0-8, 0-5) at the Moda Center. Kickoff is set for 10:30.