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1998: Jan-Mar | Apr-Jun | July-Sept | Oct-Dec
1997: Apr-June | July-Sept | Oct-Dec
04/02/98 - In an attempt to strengthen their line depth, the Storm traded WR/DB Antoine Worthman to the Milwaukee Mustangs for lineman Ricky Shaw. Shaw, 32, is a 6-4, 290-pounder in his third AFL season. He played in seven games for the Mustangs in 1997, recording five tackles and five assists. He also spent the 1994 season with the Orlando Predators, playing in one game; he was deactivated for the rest of the games that year. Shaw was a fourth-round selection by the New York Giants in 1988; he played for the Giants from 1988-89 and for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990 and 1991. At Oklahoma State, he played four seasons (1984-87) and was an Honorable Mention All-America in his senior campaign.
04/03/98 - The Storm began the process of paring their active roster to 30 in time for training camp on Friday, waiving WR/DB Grantis Bell and lineman Gary Reid. Tampa Bay also placed WR/DB Derek Hill on recallable waivers. Hill and Reid did not play a down for the Storm; Reid was acquired last June as future considerations in the trade of time bomb FB/LB/OL/DL Ivan Caesar and Hill came to the Storm in December from the late Anaheim Piranhas via a dispersal draft. Bell joined the Storm in 1995 and played in five regular season and three playoff games with the Storm. He finished third on the team in receiving that year, hauling in 15 passes for 218 yards and three scores. After a year away, he came back in 1997, he saw action in two games, catching five passes for 90 yards and a 45-yard touchdown at Texas on July 5. However, he was then placed on the suspended list and did not return.
04/12/98 - The Arena Football League today voided the Storm's April 2 trade of WR/DB Antoine Worthman to the Milwaukee Mustangs for lineman Ricky Shaw. The trade was provisional, as is often the case, on the players involved reporting to their new teams and passing their physicals. Shaw had shoulder surgery in January and is still healing. Worthman will likely be traded to another club, as the Storm carries a surplus of recievers and defensive backs. In other news, the Storm holds its annual media day Tuesday at the Ice Palace. Players will meet with the local media starting at noon. The Storm will be in two-a-day workouts at the Ice Palace through Thursday in preparation for Friday night's preseason opener against the Florida Bobcats.
04/15/98 - Beginning with Media Day at the Ice Palace, the Storm Shelter has received access to a digital camera. What this means is that we will be able to provide photographs online in a very short amount of time. To your right is our first-ever digital photograph on the Storm Shelter. We still plan to use standard photographic methods, action situations do not record well on digital cameras. We will still rely on Chris Arnold for the high-quality action photographs that you have become used to. Please take a look at our first-ever photo gallery, from the first days of the Tampa Bay Storm's training camp. We plan to provide photo galleries for at least every home game, and possibly some of the road games.
04/16/98 - The Storm made its final roster tweaks before Friday night's preseason opener against the Florida Bobcats, placing FB/LB Cedric McKinnon and DS Tracy Sanders on the physically unable to perform list. Tampa Bay also waived kicker Bjorn Nittmo and placed lineman Darryl Milburn on injured reserve. Nittmo is best known in Storm circles for ditching the team during training camp last year to embark on a failed attempt to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster. Milburn was acquired from Anaheim via the player dispersal draft after the franchise was placed on hiatus for the 1998 season. An up-to-date roster is on-line.
04/17/98 - OS George LaFrance caught a franchise- record six touchdown passes from three different quarterbacks as the Storm rolled to a 28-0 second quarter lead en route to defeating the Florida Bobcats 54-44 at the Ice Palace on Friday night. LaFrance hauled in nine passes for 181 yards as he logged most of the game at offensive specialist due to injuries and players not yet reporting to the club. The Bobcats came back from the big deficit largely on the arm of Fred McNair, who threw for two touchdown passes to make the game close. The 'Cats pulled within 47-44 with 3:30 left on a one-yard touchdown run by Lou D'Agostino, but the Storm put it away with a touchdown drive, capped by Matt Pike's 16-yard touchdown strike to LaFrance. The Storm accounted for 332 yards through the air and 352 total yards. All three quarterbacks for the Storm had over 100 yards in passing. Game Coverage
04/20/98 - The San Jose SaberCats announced today that their opening game with the Storm, scheduled for 10:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 2, would be moved up to the same time on Friday night, May 1. The change was deemed necessary due to the NHL San Jose Sharks' qualification for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which they clinched last week. A possible Game Six would be scheduled for the Saturday night, necessitating the change. It is not known at this time whether Sunshine Network will still be broadcasting the game back to audiences in Florida...IN OTHER NEWS...Speedy WR/DB Wayne Walker arrived on Sunday and practiced with the team on Monday for the first time; he should see playing time Thursday night in Orlando...Also arriving in Tampa was WR/DB Antoine Worthman.
04/21/98 - Earlier today, we incorrectly reported that Steve Clarke had retired. Actually, it was Garry Franke who retired due to a back injury. He had no statistics in Friday night's preseason win over the Florida Bobcats.
04/22/98 - In preparation for Thursday night's game at Orlando, the Storm waived rookie lineman Patrick McNeil, activated WR/DB Antoine Worthman and placed FB/LB Tony Jones on the suspended list. McNeil did not play in Friday night's win over the Florida Bobcats and got off to a rough start at the opening of training camp, getting visibly exhausted during the first practice on April 11. Worthman was traded to Milwaukee for lineman Ricky Shaw earlier this month, but the trade was voided due to Shaw's shoulder injury. Jones finished second on the Storm in rushing last year with 86 yards on 34 carries. He scored five touchdowns on the ground, good for third on the team.
Sunshine Network announced today that it will not be televising the Storm's Week One game at San Jose after the SaberCats were forced to move the game up from Saturday, May 2 to Friday, May 1. The network would have been forced to air the game either on a half-hour tape delay or with the first portion cut off due to a University of Florida baseball game that had already been plugged into the 8 to 11 p.m. time slot on May 1. Kickoff in San Jose is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. EDT. To fulfill their contract with the Storm, the network will now pick up the season-ending game at Grand Rapids scheduled for Aug. 1.
04/23/98 - Wayne Walker electrified the Orlando Arena crowd by scoring twice from more than 30 yards out in the last two minutes of the first half to lead the Storm to a 50-48 win over the hated Orlando Predators on Thursday night. Walker, playing in his first game since arriving in Tampa on Sunday, has now run back kicks for scores in consecutive games---he had a 57-yard return in last year's semifinal loss to Arizona. Tampa Bay ends the preseason 2-0 for the first time since 1994 and defeats the Preds in a scrimmage game for the first time ever, having lost matchups between the clubs in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Orlando, under new head coach Jay Gruden, finished the preseason 0-2. Game Coverage
04/27/97 - The Tampa Bay Storm pared its active roster down to 24 players today via a passel of player moves. First, the Storm released lineman Steve Clarke, WR/DB Larry Kennedy, QB Matt Pike and WR/DB Walter Sutton. Clarke, a March signee, recorded a tackle and an assist in the Storm's preseason games. Kennedy, who joined the team before last season, was fifth on the team in preseason tackles with three; he also caught three passes for 24 yards. In '97, Kennedy caught six passes for 69 yards and made six tackles and two assists before a hamstring injury ended his season in Week 12. Pike, signed by the Storm just before the preseason win over the Florida Bobcats on April 17, completed 13 of 21 passes for 191 yards and a team-best five touchdowns in the preseason. Sutton, who like Kennedy joined the team before last season, caught five passes for 53 yards last year before being placed on injured reserve on June 26 with a hamstring injury. He was third on the Storm in preseason receptions with seven for 54 yards and one score.
The Storm also placed WR/DB Damacio Green, FB/LB Nyle Wiren, WR/DB Kevin Jackson and WR/DB Alvoid Mays on injured reserve. Green is a second-year player; he joined the team on May 28 of last year and finished the season on injured reserve. Wiren, Jackson and Mays, all AFL rookies, will offer depth at their positions upon their return.
The moves are also accompanied by the activiation of OL/DL Willie Wyatt, lineman Lynn Rowland,Cedric McKinnon and Tracy Sanders. McKinnon and Sanders were on the physically unable to perform list throughout the preseason due to lingering injuries. Wyatt and Rowland were both activated off the refused to report list. Also arriving in Tampa today after missing all of training camp was DS Tracey Perkins, last year's league Defensive Player of the Year.
05/01/98 - Storm rookie WR/DB Kevin Jackson underwent surgery for a broken finger on his left hand Thursday. Jackson suffered the injury during Tampa Bay's 54-44 preseason win over the Florida Bobcats on April 17. "I didn't think it was so bad at first; I just got my finger jammed between [a Bobcat player] and the wall," he said Friday. Jackson may miss up to a month with the injury.
Wayne Walker caught six passes for 185 yards and Peter Tom Willis conected on four touchdown passes as the Storm got off to a flying start in 1998, thrashing the San Jose SaberCats 45-23 in the South Bay on Friday night. Tampa Bay overcame four turnovers on the strength of a strong defensive performance that saw the Storm record two safeties. The game mirrored the last meeting between the two teams, a season-ender last year, when the Storm notched three safeties and won by 24. Andre Bowden paced the Storm's defensive surge with two sacks. The game also saw Storm offensive specialist George LaFrance go without a catch for the first time in his distinguished ten-season career. Tampa Bay improved to 6-2 on Opening Day, and has won four straight season openers. Game Coverage
05/05/98 - The Storm hasn't taken long to start piling up honors in 1998, as FB/LB Andre Bowden was named the AFL's Ironman of the Week for Week One. Bowden posted three sacks for 20 yards against the SaberCats, and consistently harassed San Jose quarterbacks Cree Morris and Jared Brown. Bowden, playing in his eighth game since rejoining the team last July after three years in the World League (now NFL Europe) and NFL, has a team-leading five sacks in the last eight games.His three sacks against San Jose was one shy of the Arena Football single game record of four, which is held by current Storm teammate Sylvester Bembery. Bembery recorded his four-sack game in 1988 while with the New England Steamrollers.
In a perplexing move, the Storm waived kicker Rich Fall and signed former New York Giant and Kansas City Chief Bjorn Nittmo to replace him. Fall made five of six extra points last Friday and hit 12 of 13 in the preseason. He ends his Storm career with 68 regular season points, going 38-for-44 on PATs and 10-for-21 on field goals. His 50-percent field goal percentage last year was the highest single season mark in team history. He also holds the franchise record for most field goals in a game, season and postseason, with four in last year's semifinal loss at Arizona. Nittmo, who resides in San Antonio, Tex., was on the Storm for two days during last year's preseason before skipping out in a failed attempt to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He kicked for the Cleveland Thunderbolts in 1993. "Letting go of Rich was a tough call," Marcum said. "He's a nice guy and it was a hard decision to make." The Storm also traded WR/DB Damacio Green to the Milwaukee Mustangs for future considerations. Green spent most of last season on the injured reserve list and was placed there again last week. He only played in one game with the Storm, last June 7 at Albany.
05/09/98 - Storm QB Peter Tom Willis threw for a career-high 303 yards and seven touchdowns, but also tossed two costly interceptions and fumbled a snap as the turnover-plagued Storm fell to Nashville 54-52 in front of 9,629 at the Ice Palace on Saturday night. After the fumbled snap, the Kats scored to take a 20-7 lead late in the first quarter and controlled the game from that point on. On three occasions, the Storm pulled within two points, the last time on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Willis to WR/LB Stevie Thomas with 11 seconds remaining. However, an onside kick by Bjorn Nittmo failed and Nashville ran out the clock to record their first win over Tampa Bay in three tries. With Willis' two interceptions and a fumble and FB/LB Les Barley's fumble on his only carry of the night, Tampa Bay's turnover ration dropped to a league-worst minus-seven after two games.
The Tampa Bay Storm waived OL/DL Michael Thornton on Saturday, bringing the roster count to 23 players. Thornton played in the Week One win over San Jose, and played in five games during the 1997 season, recording six tackles. He was placed on injured reserve on July 10, 1997, missing the last four regular season games and both postseason games.
05/13/98 - OL/DL Tony Woods was activated from the Refused to Report list on Monday. He returns to the Storm after missing the first two games because of job commitments. Last season, he was an integral part of the Storm's line, recording two receptions for eight yards on offense and seven tackles and a sack on defense.
OS George LaFrance broke his own Storm record, catching seven touchdown passes, as the Storm grabbed a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and cruised to their biggest win in nearly two years, 56-25 over the Houston ThunderBears in front of 10,009 at the Ice Palace on Saturday night. LaFrance's old record of five touchdowns was set against the ThunderBears when they were still known as the Texas Terror, on May 11, 1996. He caught six of his scores from Peter tom Willis and one from Bryan Martin, who mopped up during the late stages of the blowout. Game Coverage
05/18/98 - OS George LaFrance was named the Arena Football League Player of the Week for Week Three after catching a league-record tying seven touchdown passes in Saturday's win over Houston. LaFrance's seven scores shattered the previous record of five, set by LaFrance against the Texas Terror two years ago. In the past two weeks, LaFrance has caught ten touchdown passes and accounted for 434 all-purpose yards. His ten scores leads the league.
05/21/98 - The National Football League approved a plan where league owners can also own Arena Football League teams Wednesday at the NFL Owners' Meeting in Boca Raton. Among the NFL teams interested in owning Arena Football clubs are the New Orleans Saints, the New England Patriots, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dallas Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders. "We're excited about the potential of this," Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "It shows that the National Football League is taking notice of our product and our game, and helps legitimize us." The Arizona Republic reported through a source that the potential for cross-promotional ties between the NFL and Arena Football exist, which could lead to a relationship similar to what the WNBA enjoys with its financial benefactor, the NBA.
05/23/98 - Peter Tom Willis completed 19 of 37 passes for 205 yards as the Storm defeated the Florida Bobcats 44-29 in front of a league-record low crowd of 2,062 at the West Palm Beach Auditorium on Saturday night. The lack of attendance, though, did not dull the accomplishments of OS George LaFrance and FB/LB Les Barley. LaFrance went over the 500-catch and 1,000-point barriers on consecutive plays in the second quarter, then ran back a missed field goal 54 yards to close the first half and send the Storm to the locker room with a 38-15 bulge. Barley went over the 1,000-yard mark in the final minute of the game on a three-yard run; he finished with 1,001 yards after gaining one yard on the next play. Game Coverage
05/30/98 - Tampa Bay shattered a franchise record, scoring 81 points, including 21 off of New Jersey fumbles, as the Storm trounced the Red Dogs 81-42 on Saturday night. The Storm's point total is the second most in league history for a road team; Albany scored 88 in a win over the Charlotte Rage in 1996. The Storm was paced by three touchdowns from OS George LaFrance, who caught three second quarter touchdown passes. K Bjorn Nittmo also put himself in the record books, setting a team mark for points by a kicker with 19 and tying his club record for field goals in a game with three. It was the second straight week Nittmo had made three field goals. He also made all ten extra points he attempted, good for another Storm record. Game Coverage
06/02/98 - Tampa Bay activated QB Ron Adams from the refused to report list. Adams, a former Detroit Drive starter, was the backup to Peter Tom Willis last season, joining the team in June after Willis suffered cracked ribs. He missed the first month of this year due to his job committment; he is a teacher in Wyandotte, Mich. To make room for the 32-year-old Adams, the Storm traded incumbent backup Bryan Martin to San Jose for future considerations. Martin saw action in two games this year---against Houston and New Jersey. He completed eight of 11 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He is expected to become the SaberCats' starter once he familiarizes himself with coach Todd Shell's system. Adams' last playing time came, ironically, at San Jose in last year's season-ender; he broke a Storm single-game pass accuracy record by completing 13 of 15 passes for 136 yards and two scores. 1998 will be his fifth season in the league; he played under coach Tim Marcum for the Drive from 1991-93.
06/03/98 - The Arena Football League named Lawrence Samuels as the Ironman of the Week on Wednesday. Samuels earned the honor by turning in an outstanding two-way performance at New Jersey last Saturday, catching three passes for 41 yards, intercepting a pass, recovering two fumbles and scoring three times. Two of his touchdowns came on receptions, one from Peter Tom Willis and the other from since-departed Bryan Martin. The other came in the fourth quarter when he pounced on a fumbled snap by Rickey Foggie and ran unimpeded for the four-yard score. Samuels is the second Storm player to be named Ironman of the Week this year; Andre Bowden earned the award after Week One for his three-sack effort.
06/06/98 - Peter Tom Willis completed 20 of 31 passes for 242 yards and four touchdowns, including seven in a row to start the second half, as the Storm overcame a sluggish first half, outscoring New York 21-0 in the third quarter en route to a 65-33 win in front of an announced 12,945 at the Ice Palace on Saturday night. Three of Willis' strikes went to George Lafrance, who caught four passes for 74 yards on the evening. The Storm's defense held the CityHawks to 207 total yards and coaxed three turnovers from New York, all forced by Johnnie Harris. Harris picked off two passes, returning one 45 yards for a score, and forced a fumble that was recovered by Lawrence Samuels. With Orlando yet to play in Week Six, the Storm sits alone atop the Southern Division. Game Coverage
06/12/98 - Playing against each other for the eighteenth time, the Tampa Bay Storm evened up the series at nine games apiece by defeating the Orlando Predators 42-34 in front of 15,948 at the O-rena. Storm DS Johnnie Harris intercepted a Pat O'Hara pass as time expired to preserve the victory. The interception was Harris' third of the night and seventh of the season. DS Tracey Perkins also joined the fun by intercepting an O'Hara pass with 12:11 remaining in the second quarter. Storm QB Peter Tom Willis was 19-of-35 passing for 239 yards with five touchdowns and an interception. Willis spread the ball around to six different receivers, including OL/DL and tight end-eligible Lynn Rowland, who caught an 11-yard pass for a touchdown with 9:16 remaining in the game, giving the Storm an eight point lead. Rowland's reception came just one play after he blocked a 65-yard field goal attempt by the Predators. Game Coverage
06/17/98 - The Arena Football League named Storm lineman Lynn Rowland as the league's Ironman of the Week for Week Seven. Rowland earned the distinction by turning in a monster game at Orlando, posting a sack of former Storm QB Connell Maynor in the second quarter, and then, on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, turned around and leaped backwards into the end zone for the ball. Rowland also forced Pred QB Pat O'Hara into a hurried throw on the last play of the game that resulted in a Johnnie Harris interception. Rowland is the third Storm player to be honored by the league as Ironman of the Week; Andre Bowden earned the distinction in Week One and Lawrence Samuels was so honored after Week Five.
In a trading deadline move, the Tampa Bay Storm traded lineman Earl Scott to the San Jose SaberCats for future considerations. Scott has been on the Storm's exempt list all year while playing center for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He joined the Storm last year after the conclusion of his European season and played in Tampa Bay's last five games of the regular season and in both playof games.
06/20/98 - WR/DB Stevie Thomas caught nine passes for 128 yards and four touchdowns and scored another on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter to lead the Tampa Bay Storm to a 63-42 victory over the Albany Firebirds. With 0:07 remaining in the game, Thomas leapt in the air and grabbed the onside kick at the four yardline, returning it for a touchdown. The play lasted only one second, but broke the Firebirds' backs. Thomas' play earned him game MVP honors. Storm QB Peter Tom Willis also had another excellent night, completing 21 of 29 passes for 274 yards and six touchdowns. Willis' 41 total touchdown passes equals his total of last season. DS Johnnie Harris broke up five passes while covering one of the top offensive players in the league, Firebirds OS Eddie Brown. Harris is on pace to shatter the AFL record for passes defensed (26); he currently has 20. Game Coverage
06/24/98 - The Storm officially learned late on Tuesday that lineman Sylvester Bembery will be lost for the remainder of the 1998 season due to the right knee injury sustained in Saturday's 63-42 win over the Albany Firebirds. Bembery tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on a defensive play with 11:26 remaining in the second quarter. Bembery finishes his tenth Arena Football season with four tackles, three assists and one pass broken up. He did not record any sacks in eight games this year, leaving his all-time league-leading total at 39. Bembery is expected to undergo surgery next week once the swelling in his right knee has abated.
In spite of the fact that he was not selected as the Player of the Game by the elite cadre of local media representatives gathered in the Ice Palace press box on Saturday night, QB Peter Tom Willis was named the league's Co-Player of the Week for Week Eight on Tuesday. Willis completed 21 of 29 passes---including his first 11 in a row---for 274 yards and six touchdowns. It is the first time that the former Seminole QB has been so honored in his one-and-a-half season Arena Football career. Willis has thrown 41 touchdowns on the season---as many as he had in all of 1997. He is currently on pace for 72 touchdown passes, which would break the Storm record of 70 set by Gruden in his final season of 1996. Willis will share the honors with Iowa QB Aaron Garcia, who led the Barnstormers to a 46-43 overtime stunner over the Kats at Nashville on Monday night. The 2-6 Barnstormers did the Storm a huge favor with the win, as they dropped Nashville to 5-3, a full two games back of the Storm in the race for the Southern Division crown.
06/25/98 - Faced with a need at the offensive/defensive lineman position due to Sylvester Bembery's season-ending knee injury, the Storm signed former Atlanta Falcon and University of Illinois star Mel Agee on Wednesday. Agee, who will wear jersey number 75 for the Storm, spent the spring with the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. He was the club's starting left defensive end, and finished third on the team in sacks with two. By current measurements, the 29-year-old Agee stands at 6-5 and weighs 310 pounds. He was a sixth round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts in 1991 and spent just over one season there, as he was waived by the Colts after one game in 1992. The Falcons signed him at the end of the 1992 season; he played there for three full seasons (1993-95).
06/27/98 - The Tampa Bay Storm retired Jay Gruden before the game. Then, they retired the Predators. Storm QB Peter Tom Willis completed 26 of 37 passes for 281 yards, six touchdowns and a lone first quarter interception, leading the team to a 56-30 victory over the rival Predators. The game was sealed when Lynn Rowland sacked Orlando QB Pat O'Hara, forcing a fumble that Andre Bowden returned 36 yards for a touchdown. Storm receiver George LaFrance led all Storm receivers with nine catches for 78 yards and three touchdowns on catches of eight, 13 and three yards. LaFrance was one of three Storm receivers with more than 70 yards; Stevie Thomas had five receptions for 76 yards and a score, and Lawrence Samuels caught six for 74 yards and a score. Game Coverage
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