The Tampa Bay Storm continue to offer an exciting opportunity for anyone who’s ever dreamed of making it in the field of sports broadcasting and journalism. The program, appropriately titled “Storm Chasers,” will give aspiring broadcasters and journalists the chance to experience what it is really like to be in the shoes of a game-day broadcaster.
The next Storm Chasers seminar of the 2013 season is set to be held on July 20th before and during the Storm’s home game against the Pittsburgh Power. Participants will gain access to advice from Storm Radio personalities Jack Harris, Darek Sharp, and Matt Sammon while also getting a behind-the-scenes view of a game day at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Participants will also be able to conduct interviews with Storm players and coaches before and after the game.
Last but certainly not least, participants will get their stories published on The Official Website of the Tampa Bay Storm. Below is a preview and recap of the May 25th game against Philadelphia from Storm Chaser and Storm Radio intern Will Black.
Storm vs. Soul Game Preview By Will Black
This Saturday, a battle between two of the top teams in the American conference takes place when the Tampa Bay Storm take on the Philadelphia Soul. Going into the game, both teams are in first place in their respective divisions. Led by quarterback Adrian McPherson, the 6-3 Storm is tied in first place with Jacksonville in the South Division; they also come into the game on a win after defeating the Pittsburgh Power 62-34. The 4-4 Soul has a two game lead over the Cleveland Gladiators for first place in the East Division, yet is 0-2 in division games. As the season approaches its halfway point, playoff implications start to come into the picture. A win Saturday for both teams would mean a better chance at claiming home field advantage during the postseason.
The biggest headline for the Storm is the return of wide receiver Joe Hills. At the beginning of the month, the Carolina Panthers of the NFL offered Hills a tryout, making him unavailable to the Storm for their last two games. While Tampa native Greg Ellingson has played well as the primary receiver, the return of Hills provides another weapon for McPherson. A towering 6’5 game changer, Hills has the size to catch over defenders as well the speed to create separation. Even with the two missed games, Hills is tied for 5th in the league in touchdowns with 20 and is 4th in receiving yards per game with 121.1. In order for the Storm to convincingly beat the Soul, they’re going to need a big game from him.
Defensively, the Storm will have to create turnovers in the secondary and make stops on the line. This season, Soul rank 5th in rushing offense and 4th in passing offense. Soul quarterback, Dan Raudabaugh, has thrown for 2,240 yards this season, good enough for 3rd in the AFL. The Storm will need to pay extra attention to the link between Raudabaugh and receiver Anthony Jones, who has almost half of Raudabaugh’s passing yards, with 1,013. A strong Storm secondary, led by Chris Smith and De’Audra Dix, will need to stop the one trick pony of Raudabaugh-to-Jones. If they can create turnovers and get pressure on Raudabaugh, it should give the Storm offense enough extra chances to score points.
In the trenches, the Storm will have to pay attention to Soul fullback Derrick Ross. Ross, a 200-pound bruiser, is second in the league with 235 rushing yards; he only trails the Storm’s own McPherson. While the Soul has no standout players on their defensive line, they do have Bryan Robinson, who is in the top-10 in the league for sacks. The Storm’s offensive line is talented and experienced enough handle the Soul’s defensive line and give McPherson enough time to make a play.
If the Storm can shut down the three headed attack of Raudabaugh-Jones-Ross, they should win the game decisively. The momentum from the blowout win the previous week and the return of the dynamic Hills should prove enough to handle the Soul. A win would put the Storm at 7-3 and in a good spot for the playoffs. As one final interesting stat, the last time the Storm started off 7-3, the team made it to the Arena Bowl.
Storm vs. Soul Game Recap By Will Black
Coming off a 30-point win, teams generally carry that momentum into the next game. This wasn’t the case Saturday night for the Tampa Bay Storm, as they couldn’t seem to find their rhythm against the Philadelphia Soul.
Right off the bat, the Storm had an up-and-down first quarter. Striking first, the Soul orchestrated a three play touchdown drive that concluded with a 6-yard touchdown run by full back Derrick Ross for his 19th rushing touchdown of the season. On the ensuing kickoff, Storm wide receiver Michael Lindsey had a kickoff return deep in to Soul territory but was called back on a penalty. A few plays after the penalty, the Soul left receiver Greg Ellingson wide open on a deep route to the end zone for an easy touchdown; a missed PAT by Juan Bongarra left the Storm trailing 7-6. Unfortunately for the Storm, a blown assignment in the secondary allowed the Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh to easily connect with receiver Ryan McDaniel to score.
The Storm’s first quarter woes continued when McPherson overthrew Joe Hills on a deep fly route, then was sacked twice. At the end of the quarter, the Soul seemed primed to extend their 14-6 lead with the ball on the Storm 11 yard line. A tackle for loss on Ross, then a broken up pass by Vance Cuff, and an overthrown ball, provided the defensive stop the Storm needed and seemed to get the Storm in the game going into the second quarter.
An Adrian McPherson touchdown run made the game 14-13 early in the second quarter. The Soul would quickly respond however, with an efficient drive down the field resulting in another Ross touchdown. Things would get nail-bitingly close for Storm and Soul fans alike, at the end of the half. Joe Hills would catch his first touchdown of the night, and with 55 seconds remaining in the half, Ross caught a dump off pass for another score.
In the last minute of the half, Joe Hills would put the team on his back. Trying to get another possession before the half ended, the Soul attempted an onside kick. Soul kicker, Carlos Martinez put it straight into the arms of Hills who saw a running lane and took off towards the end zone. At the very last second, the 6’5 Hills extended his body and put the ball across the goal line to make the game 28-27, with the Storm only trailing by one. A forced fumble by Lindsey on the kickoff was recovered by Cuff on the 3 yard line with 30 seconds on the clock. A leaping grab in the back right corner of the end zone by Hills would end up giving the Storm a 34-31 lead, and momentum for the team going into the 2nd half.
In the second half the wheels really fell off the wagon for the Storm, with the Soul outscoring the Storm 21-7 in the 3rd quarter alone. Ross would continue his dominance on the ground, as he would rumble into the end zone again for his fourth touchdown of the night. Twice, the Storm got beat in the secondary. Once on a designed screen play to Andrae Thurman, and again by Anthony Jones. The Soul did however; give up a touchdown to Ellingson on the same route he scored on in the first quarter.
In the fourth, the Soul would continue to roll along and execute their game plan. After being pinned down inside their own 10 yard line, they called for another screen pass. This play would again prove to be successful, as McDaniels went 40 yards for the touchdown on a bubble screen. The Storm would strike back, when McPherson lobbed a perfect pass over the defense and into the fingertips of Hills. Two more Soul touchdowns within the last three minutes would prove to be the nail in the coffin for the Storm, as the final score was 73-55. The Soul are now 5-4 and the Storm sit at 6-4. Tampa Bay travels to Des Moines, Iowa, to take on the Iowa Barnstormers this Saturday night. It is the first visit to Iowa by the Storm in 13 years.