Des Moines, IA - The Tampa Bay Storm continued its four-game winning streak, its longest since the 2010 season, after defeating the Iowa Barnstormers in sudden death, 62-56, at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday night.
Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard continued his heroics as he took off for an 11-yard touchdown run to the end zone to end the game for the Storm win.
The win was critical for the Storm, as the team now owns a winning record and remains in the hunt for the Southern Division title. Tampa Bay will face the first-place Orlando Predators Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
There has been plenty of successful play to go around these past four weeks, but Hippeard’s effort remains a crucial element to this team’s playoff push. Fresh off being named the Week 13 AFL MVP, Hippeard engineered another strong game, completing 24 of 34 passes for 289 yards, throwing six touchdowns and rushing for three, including the game-winner.
The Storm and the Barnstormers wasted no time scoring in the first quarter. Both teams scored on their first two possessions to make it a, 14-14, game at the end of the quarter.
The scoring slowed in the second quarter, with the Barnstormers scoring on a rushing touchdown by wide receiver Darius Reynolds with 2:57 left in the quarter. The Storm responded with a score of their own on a touchdown reception by Joe Hills, his 30th consecutive game with a touchdown reception. With 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Barnstormers quarterback J.J. Raterink found wide receiver Julian Williams for a score, giving the Barnstormers a 28-21 lead at the end of the first half.
The Storm opened up the second half with a score, a 30-yard touchdown reception by T.T. Toliver on the first play. Both teams would score late in the quarter, resulting in a tie game, 35-35, going into the fourth quarter.
Hippeard ran his way into the endzone for the score on the Storms first possession of the fourth quarter, regaining the lead, 42-35. The Barnstormers tied the game on another rushing touchdown by Reynolds, his second of the game. After another score by Hills, the Storm defense came up with a stop on a fumble recovery by linebacker Darian Payne. Hippeard gave Tampa Bay a promising two-touchdown lead after his second rushing touchdown with under two minutes to play. After scoring, the Barnstormers recovered an onside kick and scored in the final seconds of the game. After converting the two-point conversion, the game was tied, 56-56 and headed into overtime.
In overtime, Hippeard threw an interception on the Storms possession and the Barnstormers turned the ball over on downs.
The game moved to sudden death and Hippeard ended the game, scoring on an 11-yard run for the game-winning touchdown.
Hills and Toliver both punched in strong games against the Iowa secondary. Hills hauled in six passes for 77 yards and three touchdowns, and Toliver caught eight passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
The Storm were led defensively defensive back Jean Fanor and Payne. Fanor totaled ten tackles, while Payne had seven tackles and a key fumble recovery.
UP NEXT- Tampa Bay returns to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to battle for the Southern Division against its rival, Orlando Predators, on June 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tampa will be looking for its first win against Orlando this season in their third installment of “the War on I-4”, in what will also be the Times Forum’s Local Heroes Night. The Storm then head to Cleveland to face the Gladiators in Week 16.