1997 Results | Game Coverage
Who: Milwaukee Mustangs at Tampa Bay Storm
Kicking Off...Two teams expected to be among Arena Football's elite will face off on Friday night when the Mustangs come to Tampa for just the second time ever to face the Storm. For Tampa Bay, the focus will be on FB/LB Les Barley. After gaining a career-high 37 yards on eight carries last week, he needs just ten yards to become the league's all-time leading rusher.
The Coaches...Milwaukee - Michael Trigg, 16-15 record in three seasons with the Mustangs, 21-23 record in four AFL seasons.
Tampa Bay - Tim Marcum, 31-5 in three seasons with the Storm, 86-17 in nine AFL seasons.
In 1997...Milwaukee (2-2) - Lost to Portland 45-41, lost to Albany 34-23, defeated New York 54-46, defeated Texas 59-57.
Tampa Bay (3-1) - Defeated Arizona 42-30, defeated Florida 38-19, lost to Orlando 43-17, defeated Nashville 42-26.
Mustangs to Watch...QB Todd Hammel - Since breaking into the league with the Dallas Texans in 1992, Hammel's numbers and output are average by standards of Arena Football quarterbacks. This year is no different; he ranks fifth in the league with a 145.2 passer rating. In four games, he has 934 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Hammel has been spreading the ball around this year, but has focused on finding WR/LB David Andrews and OS Mike Miller. Andrews leads the Mustangs with 20 catches for 320 yards and five touchdowns. Hammel has followed his coach, Michael Trigg, around since joining the league. Trigg was an assistant in Dallas in 1992-93 before the franchise moved to Fort Worth. Trigg followed as the new coach of the Cavalry, and Hammel went with him. When the Cavalry folded after the 1994 season, Trigg took over the reins of the Mustangs, and he brought Hammel with him.
OL/DL Ralph Jarvis - If the name sounds familiar, there's a reason; Jarvis was one of the Storm's key linemen from 1992-93. Before the 1994 season, the Storm traded him to Massachusetts in the huge trade that yielded Sylvester Bembery and George LaFrance. Jarvis made the All-Southern Division team in 1992, and the All-American Conference team with Massachusetts in 1994, but truly came into his own with the Mustangs, whom he joined after a November 1994 trade. Jarvis, who has 1.5 sacks so far in 1997, has made the All-AFL team two consecutive years, and so far has turned in another solid start spearheading the Mustangs' line.
FB/LB Lincoln Coleman - Another familiar name in football circles, but not because of his Arena Football exploits. Coleman saw duty as Emmitt Smith's backup for the Dallas Cowboys in 1993-94. In two years, he gained 312 yards on 98 carries and scored three touchdowns. His shot with the Cowboys came after an outstanding 1993 season with the AFL's Dallas Texans, where he rushed for 148 yards on 35 carries and four touchdowns. After leaving the Cowboys, he played one year for Atlanta on their practice squad before taking a year off. In his return to football, he's done quite well. So far, he's gained 96 yards on just nine carries in four AFL games. He also has three touchdowns.
Noting the Mustangs...Fantastic Turnaround - Milwaukee finished 10-4 last year and made the AFL playoffs for the first time. The team's success on the field allowed them to finally mirror their off-field success, as they have consistently drawn from 14,000 to 16,000 for all their home games at the Bradley Center. Mustangs fans---who are well-deserving of their team's recent success---are nothing if not loyal. The team finished their first season 0-12, and then lost the first three games of 1995 before finally breaking through on June 3, 1995 in a 31-27 win over Charlotte. The struggles didn't keep the fans from coming, though. During the losing streak, the Mustangs never drew below 12,000 for a home game.
Tampa Bay/Milwaukee Connections - Jarvis played for the Storm from 1992-93...Hammel was a 12th round pick of the Bucs in 1990 and was waived on the final roster cutdown before the regular season...Trigg coached the Fort Worth Cavalry during their only season in 1994; his boss as Cavalry team owner was current Storm owner Woody Kern...As a quarterback, Trigg won an ArenaBowl title with the Detroit Drive in 1989; his coach was current Storm coach Tim Marcum.
Noting the Storm...Just 10 Yards from History... - Barley rushed eight times for 37 yards last week, giving him 247 carries for 828 yards on his career. He is now seven yards behind all-time leader Major Harris. "It'll come. If not this week, it'll come sometime," Marcum said. At the start of the season, it appeared that Cedric McKinnon would also chase Harris' record, but he missed the last three games with a hairline fracture in his foot. He is expected to play on Friday night, and looks to add to his career total of 735 yards on 194 carries. However, by the end of the game, it looks like the record he will be chasing will be Barley's, and not Harris'.
Injury Front - Bad news arrived this week when lineman Lynn Rowland's ankle injury suffered at Nashville turned out to be more serious than originally thought. He will miss four to six weeks. FB/LB Tony Jones suffered an ankle injury but practiced on Wednesday.
Back Indoors - For the first time in nearly two weeks, the Storm practiced in the Ice Palace on Wednesday. They were forced outside onto the fields of Tampa Prep after the 43-17 loss to Orlando on May 17 thanks to several public ice skating sessions and the Campbell's Soups Tour of World Figure Skating Champions show last Saturday afternoon. "It was a very special workout," Marcum said. "[Being outside for] a couple of weeks makes you appreciate the air conditioning."
From the Mouth of Marcum...On Todd Hammel - "He's a veteran quarterback in this league...He's an excellent three-step passer. We hope we can force him into [being] a five-step passer this week."
Series History...07/09/94 - Tampa Bay 69, Milwaukee 35 - Struggling through its worst season, the Storm came in at 3-3 on its way to a final mark of 7-5. But their troubles compared to those of the Mustangs, who used five quarterbacks and two head coaches en route to an 0-12 disaster. The game got out of hand early as the Storm took a 14-0 lead 6:21 into the contest. By the end of the third quarter, Tampa Bay's lead was 48-14, and the only question was whether the Storm would set a team record for points. Helping Tampa Bay's cause was six Mustang turnovers---four fumbles and two interceptions. Three fourth quarter touchdowns gave Tampa Bay its highest point total ever. QB Jay Gruden threw seven touchdown passes, four to Stevie Thomas. Incidentally, the game was billed as the last time fans would ever see the Storm in their Zubaz uniforms, which were worn regularly in 1991 and 1992 and brought back on occasion for the following two years. This proved to be a case of false advertising, as the Storm wore their Zubaz one final time against Massachusetts two weeks later. Box Score
08/03/95 - Tampa Bay 56, Milwaukee 27 - Tampa Bay needed this game to clinch home-field advantage for the playoffs, while Milwaukee came in out of the playoff running but looking to take a stunning upset into the offseason. For three quarters, such a result looked possible. Finally, the Storm pulled away, scoring 21 unanswered points to close out the game and the regular season. Cedric McKinnon scored three touchdowns on the ground and Jay Gruden added 240 yards through the air as the Storm set themselves up for a first-round meeting against Memphis one week later. Box Score
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