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1998: Jan-Mar | Apr-June | July-Sept | Oct-Dec
1997: Apr-June | July-Sept | Oct-Dec
07/02/98 - Peter Tom Willis hit George LaFrance for four touchdown passes and Les Barley scored a career-record tying three times as the Storm battled back to defeat the Houston ThunderBears 62-46 on Thursday night. Tampa Bay overcame a series of first quarter gaffes, including two fumbles that led to a 17-7 deficit. Houston continued to control the game into the second quarter, grabbing a 24-14 lead before Tampa Bay went on a run, scoring 28 unanswered points to take the lead for good. The Storm clinched a playoff spot with the win and also exceeded their regular season win total for 1997. Game Coverage
07/07/98 - Storm FB/LB Les Barley was honored by the league as the Tinactin Ironman of the Week on Monday. Barley's award came after a great performance in Houston last Thursday, where he recorded two sacks, ran for a career-record-tying three touchdowns and rushed for 22 yards on four carries. Barley is the Storm's leading rusher with 147 yards, including 69 in the last three outings. He leads the league in rushing touchdowns with 12 and he is also the team's leading sacker with five. Barley is the fourth Storm player honored as Ironman of the Week---also gaining the award were Andre Bowden (Week One), Lawrence Samuels (Week Five) and Lynn Rowland (Week Seven).
07/12/98 - After a slow first half, the Tampa Bay Storm outscored the Florida Bobcats by 30 points in the second half to win 59-18 in front of a crowd of 11,005. Storm WR/DB Lawrence Samuels led all Storm players with 60 yards receiving on six catches, including a game-high three touchdowns. On defense, he forced a fumble on a late kickoff that was recovered for a touchdown by OL/DL Tony Woods. QB Peter Tom Willis completed 22 of 35 attempts for 214 yards and six touchdowns. He spread the ball to eight different receivers throughout the afternoon. The 18 points and 143 yards were the fewest given up by the Storm this season. Game Coverage
07/14/98 - Tampa Bay DS Johnnie Harris was suspended by the league for one game without pay on Tuesday. The suspension will be served on Friday night when the Storm takes on Nashville. Harris' punishment stems from an incident in the third quarter of Sunday's game, when he pushed an official during a heated confrontation with Florida Bobcat DS Otis Mounds on a kickoff return. Harris was immediately ejected from the game. The punishment is modus operandi for the Arena Football League. Per league guidelines, any intentional contact with an official results in a minimum one-game suspension without pay. Veteran DS Tracy Sanders, who has been activated just once this year---against New York on June 6---is expected to take Harris' place in the lineup.
07/17/98 - Storm coach Tim Marcum's blunt seven-word assessment of his Storm charges spoke volumes in the wake of Tampa Bay's 49-43 meltdown Friday night against the Nashville Kats in front of a sellout 16,121 at the Nashville Arena. The Storm committed 15 penalties for 93 yards, both season highs. Tampa Bay fell behind 15-0 to start the game, then fought back with two Andre Bowden touchdowns bookending the halftime break to forge a 15-15 draw. At that point, the Storm---and most egregiously, Bowden---pulled a Chernobyl. After sacking Kats QB Andy Kelly on a third down to seemingly end Nashville's drive, Bowden shoved Kelly back into the turf, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty. Bowden and Stevie Thomas then proceeded to draw two more unsportsmanlike conduct penalties as they and his teammates on the field lost control to the delight of the hostile crowd. Two plays after the debacle, Tyronne Jones caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Kelly. The Storm's offense did manage to respond with a touchdown, but two consecutive Kats scores placed Tampa Bay squarely behind the eight-ball, and, plagued by numerous offsides and false start penalties, the Storm never recovered. The Kats proved equal to the Storm's mistake-ridden standard, turning the ball over four times and committing 74 yards of penalties. "These guys are supposed to be professionals," Marcum said. Game Coverage
07/22/98 - Wednesday the league suspended WR/DB Wayne Walker and FB/LB Cedric McKinnon for one year, effective immediately. McKinnon only played in two games this season, posting one sack against Florida on May 23 and notching four total tackles. Walker, who missed four games with a groin injury, caught 27 passes for 448 yards and eight scores, good for fourth on the team in all those categories. Considered the Storm's fastest player, he had been plagued by injuries since joining the team before Week Ten of 1997. The league and the team are required to remain silent on the details of the suspension.
07/23/98 - To fill the roster vacancies created by the one-year suspensions of Wayne Walker and Cedric McKinnon, the Storm turned to one familiar Storm face and one former Buccaneer. Tampa Bay activated FB/LB Tony Jones off the Refused to Report list and signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneer NT Robert "Pig" Goff. Jones has been working for Pepsi-Cola in St. Petersburg throughout the season. He was the Storm's second-leading rusher last season, gaining 88 yards on 34 carries and scoring five times. Goff played eight years in the National Football League, spending two with the Buccaneers (1988-89) and six with the New Orleans Saints. He has been out of football since after the 1995 season. Jones will wear jersey number 44, forcing rookie FB/LB/OL/DL Nyle Wiren to change to jersey number 42.
07/25/98 - After blowing their first chance to clinch home field advantage for the postseason at Nashville last week, the Storm wasted no time in their second opportunity, grabbing a 14-0 lead in the first ten minutes of the game en route to a 71-44 thrashing of the Iowa Barnstormers in front of a raucous throng of 14,007 at the Ice Palace on Saturday night. The Storm never trailed, and dominated for the entire game, building a 58-17 lead before calling off the dogs late in the third quarter. OS George LaFrance broke his own team record for touchdowns in a season, catching four touchdown passes to bring his total to 34. LaFrance ended the game with six catches for a season-high 140 yards, and tallied 229 all-purpose yards. Tampa Bay also posted a season high four sacks. Game Coverage
07/29/98 - The league officially confirmed that the Storm's first-round playoff game will take place on Saturday, August 8, and will be televised nationally by ESPN. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. Tampa Bay will take on either New Jersey, San Jose, Milwaukee or Iowa. Tickets are available starting at $5 at the Ice Palace box office, or by calling TicketMaster at (813) 287-8844 or the Storm ticket office at (813) 307-5905.
08/01/98 - Forced into an unexpected battle with a languishing Grand Rapids team, the Storm responded with two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds to defeat the Rampage 55-44 in front of 10,121 at the Van Andel Arena on Saturday night. QB Peter Tom Willis, who had completed just nine of 28 passes through early in the fourth quarter, completed six of his last seven to help lead the Storm back. The Rampage had grabbed the lead when Pierce Pegross recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Wayne Williams to give Grand Rapids a 41-36 lead. The Storm scored midway through the fourth quarter to re-take the advantage, but fell behind again on a 25-yard Remy Hamilton field goal with 2:42 remaining. The Storm took the ball on their next possession and marched downfield, bolstered by a nine-yard run on a fourth- and-one situation by Ironman of the Year candidate Les Barley. Two plays later, Barley scored his second touchdown of the game and his team-record- tying 15th rushing score of the season to take the lead for good, 49-44. A 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by Lawrence Samuels on the last play of the game provided the final margin. Tampa Bay's 12 regular-season wins tie a franchise record set in the team's last championship season, 1996. Game Coverage
08/08/98 - Peter Tom Willis threw six touchdown passes, three to George LaFrance, and the Storm grabbed a 28-7 lead as they cruised to a 65-46 win over the San Jose SaberCats in front of an announced throng of 11,001 at the Ice Palace on Saturday night. The Storm build their lead on the strength of LaFrance's three scores, all in the first 17 minutes of the game, and a five-yard return of a fumbled snap for a score by WR/LB Lawrence Samuels. San Jose did not pull closer than ten points after that. The Storm built the lead to as large as 25 points late in the game. Les Barley also turned in an Ironman performance, posting a tackle for a loss and scoring twice. The Storm will host No. 7 New Jersey on Friday night. Game Coverage
08/14/98 - Johnnie Harris, picked off two passes, returning one for a 14-yard score in the second quarter, to lead the Storm to a 49-23 thrashing of New Jersey in front of an announced crowd of 10,051 at the Ice Palace on Friday night. The story of the game was Harris, who also added seven total tackles, and the Storm defense. The unit held the Red Dogs to just 23 points, their lowest total of 1998. The Red Dogs had scored 48 points or more five weeks in a row, and had scored over 60 points twice in the three weeks leading up to Friday night. In addition, the Red Dog offense, which scored on ten of 11 possessions last week, mustered points on just five of nine possessions in the Storm, and went scoreless on their final three possessions. With the win, Tampa Bay earned the right to host the ArenaBowl next Sunday in the Ice Palace. Game Coverage
With the Storm hosting the ArenaBowl as a result of their playoff victory, tickets went on sale for ArenaBowl XII immediately following the game. Ticket prices for the game, which will be on Sunday, August 23 at 1:00 pm EDT, are priced at $11, $18, $21, $22, $31 and $60. Tickets are available at the Ice Palace ticket office, all TicketMaster outlets and the TicketMaster website. For more info, call the Storm office at (813) 276-7300.
08/15/98 - Everyone in Tampa Bay was waiting for the outcome of Saturday nights semifianl game, shown live on ESPN. In typical fashion for a game of its importance, it came right down to the wire. With six seconds remaining in the game, the Orlando Predators took a 38-33 lead over the Arizona Rattlerswhen Barry Wagner caught an 18 yard pass across the middle from Pat O'Hara. The scoring went back and forth, with no team ever having more than a ten point advantage. After such a draining game though, the Predators now get to travel southwest on Interstate 4 to take on the Storm at the ice Palace. ArenaBowl XII will be the twentieth meeting between the two teams in their eight year histories. The Storm hold a 10-9 edge in the series. This will be their fourth meeting in the postseason(Storm is 2-1) and their second ArenaBowl meeting; the first was ArenaBowl IX where the Storm defeated the Predators 48-35.
08/22/98 - The league named Storm DS Johnnie Harris the 1998 Defensive Player of the Year and coach Tim Marcum Coach of the Year at last night's Arenaball awards banquet, held at the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel near downtown Tampa. Harris is the second consecutive Storm player to win the defensive honor; last year Tracey Perkins won the award after intercepting a league single-season record 12 passes. In spite of winning more Arena Football games than any other coach, Marcum had never received a Coach of the Year trophy until last night. He was bestowed the title of Coach of the Year for the 1987 season, but not given an award, as the honor was accorded years after the fact.
Looks like The Storm Shelter has arrived! Friday's media day on the field at the Ice Palace brought forth a surprise in the southwest end zone, with a Storm Shelter dasher board sign ready to broadcast our website from coast to coast. We will have two signs---this one, on the side facing the ABC cameras in a corner where George LaFrance likes to catch his touchdowns, and another one on the east sideline, at around the 20-yard-line. Here, Sam Wolfson and Andrew Mason pose with the handiwork of Charlie Simonds, owner of "A Discount" Sign Shop.
08/23/98 - There's not much else to say than what Tim Marcum told the media following the game. Whupped. Massacred. Bombed. Blasted. Pick your form of anihilation verb, and it would probably apply here. After the first quarter, the Storm led 14-10. Midway through the second quarter, the game was tied at 17-17. Then, thanks to some questionable officials' calls and mistimed Peter Tom Willis, the Predators scored 30 consecutive points, turning a tight game into the biggest blowout in Storm history. Orlando thrashed the Storm 62-31 in front of an Ice Palace- record 17,222 on Sunday afternoon. It was the darkest day in Storm history, and the numbers bear that out. The 31-point loss was the worst in Storm history, beating a 48-21 thrashing at Arizona in 1994. Tampa Bay also allowed the most rushing yards in team history (127) and Willis threw a franchise and ArenaBowl record six interceptions. The loss was the first for the Storm in a championship game, and the first at home in the postseason. Game coverage
First Round Results...
- No. 4 Orlando 58, No. 5 Nashville 43.
Second Round Results...
- No. 1 Tampa Bay 49, No. 7 New Jersey 23.
- 4 Orlando 62, Tampa Bay 31
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