1998 Results | Game Coverage
Who: San Jose SaberCats at Tampa Bay Storm
Kicking Off...The Storm hosts their first postseason game in two years, and their first since moving to the Ice Palace last year, when the San Jose SaberCats take to the turf for tonight's encounter. The teams enter tonight's game coming from opposite directions. While the Storm have won 11 out of 12 since their lone home loss to Nashville on May 9, the SaberCats stumbled toward the finish line, dropping three out of four, including a 54-37 humbling at the hands of the 3-11 New York CityHawks two weeks ago. However, San Jose came through in a pressure situation last weekend, defeating Houston 65-55 in a game the 'Cats needed in order to stay alive. The Storm, meanwhile, defeated the Grand Rapids Rampage 55-44 in a surprisingly tough encounter last Saturday in western Michigan. FB/LB Les Barley barreled over the goal line with the winning touchdown with 18 seconds left. WR/LB Lawrence Samuels then capped the scoring with a touchdown on a 20-yard interception return on the game's final play.
The Coaches...San Jose - Todd Shell, 29-27 in four seasons with the SaberCats, 29-27 in four AFL seasons.
Tampa Bay - Tim Marcum, 49-13 in his fourth season with the Storm, 104-25 in ten AFL seasons.
In 1998...San Jose (7-7) - Lost to Tampa Bay 45-23, lost to Arizona 62-43, lost to Albany 56-30, defeated Grand Rapids 49-20, defeated Nashville 49-41, lost to Arizona 48-26, defeated New Jersey 51-33, defeated Portland 48-44, defeated Milwaukee 76-40, defeated Portland 68-45, lost to Iowa 44-41, lost to Albany 56-53, lost to New York 54-37, defeated Houston 65-55.
Tampa Bay (12-2) - Defeated San Jose, 45-23, lost to Nashville 54-52, defeated Houston 56-25, defeated Florida 44-29, defeated New Jersey 81-42, defeated New York 65-33, defeated Orlando 42-34, defeated Albany 63-42, defeated Orlando 56-30, defeated Houston 62-46, defeated Florida 59-18, lost to Nashville 49-43, defeated Iowa 71-44, defeated Grand Rapids 55-44.
Tonight's OfficialsReferee: Bill McCabe (48); Umpire: Paul Frerking (51); Head Linesman: Gregory Steed (19); Line Judge: David Chesney (23); Back Judge: Jim Anderson (18).
Storm Injury Report
Four Storm players entered the week on injured reserve: WR/DB Kevin Jackson, with a broken index finger, WR/DB Cornell Parker, with a strained hamstring, WR/DB Tracy Sanders, who has an injured hamstring, and OL/DL Sylvester Bembery, who is out for the season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Bembery had surgery on his knee on July 29. Listed as day-to-day for the Storm is lineman Tony Woods, who missed last week's game at Grand Rapids with an injured ankle.
The Awards Zone
Submitted for your approval, are the cases of several Storm players. These gentlemen have succeeded in helping the Storm forge the best record in the Arena Football League in 1998. In some cases, these men have been making their presence felt for most of the decade. These are the kinds of players that have made the Storm dominate in 1998. Players that have crossed barriers of walls, nets and defenders, to enter---the Awards Zone.
Tinactin Ironman of the Year
Les Barley - Fullback/Linebacker
Other stuff to consider:
Andre Bowden - Fullback/Linebacker
Other stuff to consider:
Lawrence Samuels - Wide Receiver/Linebacker
Other stuff to consider:
Defensive Player of the Year
Johnnie Harris - Defensive Specialist
Lineman of the Year
Lynn Rowland - Offensive Lineman/Defensive Lineman
Kicker of the Year
Bjorn Nittmo - Kicker
Coach of the Year
Commisioner's Award (Team of the Year)
Tampa Bay Storm (12-2)
The Next LaFrance? - San Jose OS Steve Papin snatched a record away from the Storm's veteran offensive specialist, George LaFrance, by gaining 3,192 all- purpose yards in 1998. LaFrance's previous league record total of 2,828 yards came in 1996. 1,834 of Papin's yards came via kick returns, also setting a league record. Papin has also scored at least one touchdown in 19 straight games, and since joining the SaberCats at midseason of last year, has scored 53 times in 20 games. He has dotted his name all over the SaberCats' record book, as he has established franchise season bests for all-purpose yards, most kickoff return yards, most combined return yards, most receiving yards, most points, most touchdowns, most receiving touchdowns and most 100-yard games.
Megabytes - Just call them vertically challenged. The SaberCats have eight players who stand below six feet tall, with one, WR/LB Shalon Baker, standing at just 5-6...Storm QB Peter Tom Willis' 115.3 quarterback rating for the season is a Storm record...The SaberCats ow the Storm two sets of future considerations for trades the teams made in June. On June 2, the Storm sent backup quarterback Bryan Martin to the SaberCats for the mysterious future considerations. Then, at the June 17 trading deadline, the Storm sent lineman Earl Scott, who first entered Arena Football last summer after a stint in the then-World League, to the 'Cats for future considerations. While Scott is not currently on the San Jose roster, Martin is the team's second-string quarterback. He has completed six of 13 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions in limited action...San Jose has never won a postseason game, losing first-round playoff games to Orlando in 1995 and at Iowa last season...Since going 8-4 in their opening season, San Jose has gone an even 21-21 in the last three regular seasons...Tonight's game is televised by ESPN. The last time the sports network visited for the postseason, the Storm defeated Arizona 55-54 in the 1996 semifinals. The Storm has been featured on ESPN for four playoff games in their history, and has won each one...The Storm has only lost three playoff games in its history, including last year's semifinal loss to Arizona. Following each of the first two losses---in 1992 and 1994---the Storm won the championship the next year. That's a lot for this club, rebounding from not making the ArenaBowl for the first time since 1994, to live up to.
The Storm and SaberCats have met three times, all coming in the last three seasons, with the Storm winning each time. Only once have the teams met in Tampa Bay---on June 1, 1996---and never have the teams met inside the Ice Palace.
6/1/96 - Tampa Bay 36, San Jose 22 - Two fourth quarter touchdowns stretched the Storm's run to 30-0 before Darryl Rogers' touchdown run with 23 seconds left saved a measure of respect for San Jose. Tampa Bay ran their winning streak to 14 with the win. Box Score
8/2/97 - Tampa Bay 58, San Jose 34 - The Storm clinched the No. 6 seed in the 1997 postseason by defeating the SaberCats soundly in the regular-season ending game. Game Coverage
5/1/98 - Tampa Bay 45, San Jose 23 - In this year's season-opening game, Tampa Bay dominated on defense, recording two safeties and three sacks as the Storm cruised to a 45-23 romp in front of 14,028 the San Jose Arena. Game Coverage
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