Tampa Bay Sports Day

AFL: Tampa Bay Storm Rallies for a 55-51 Win over Valor

Kendrick Ings game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left in regulation. (Photo by Scott Audette/Tampa Bay Storm)

TAMPA – Tampa Bay (8-2)  came from behind with two touchdowns in the final 40 seconds, then the Storm defense stepped up to close out Washington (1-9) defense Saturday before a rousing 9,913 at AMALIE Arena.   

The Storm came away with a 55-51 victory.  The Storm will open the postseason at home for the first time since the 2010 season.
 
Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard led a gallant charge at the end, scoring one touchdown and passing for another to Michael Lindsey for 12 yards with 40 seconds left in the game. That touchdown closed the Valor’s 10-point lead to 51-48.
 
Storm defensive back LaRoche Jackson recovered an onside kick with 37.8 seconds left in regulation.  Hippeard would drive the team down the field, completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Ings for the go-ahead score, 55-51.
 
Former 2016 AFL Defensive Player of the Year, Tracy Belton had a fumble recovery in the end zone – as Tampa Bay was about to score — and returned it 54 yards. Belton, who was with Philadelphia last season, intercepted a pass Hippeard pass with 5:20 left in the third and the Valor drove
 
The Valor then scored back-to back touchdowns, cutting the lead to 27-25. Brackett, in his fifth game of the season, connected with Greg Carr (24) and Roger Jackson (39 yards), and also ran a score in from 8 yards.
 
The Tampa Bay Storm return to action Saturday, July 8 in Cleveland versus the Gladiators (3-8). The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Tampa Bay clinched a home playoff game with the victory. It will be the franchise’s 20th home playoff game, 19th in Tampa Bay and first since 2010…the Storm swept the season series versus the Valor 4-0. The team is now 9-4 against Dean Cokinos coached teams…Tampa Bay Storm is 5-0 this year when leading at halftime. Meanwhile, the Washington Valor are 0-9 when trailing at halftime…MVP of the Game, Kendrick Ings, finished the game with 287 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns. He would finish the game with 161 kickoff return yards and a touchdown return. Ings led all receivers with 111 yards receiving and finished with 11 receptions, two of which went for touchdowns….both Michael Lindsey and LaRoche Jackson had key recoveries on special teams. Lindsey recovered a loose kickoff in the endzone for a touchdown in the first half. Jackson recovered a pivotal onside kick with less than a minute on the clock to give the Storm a chance to take the lead and score the final points of the game….fullback Ryan Cave, a recent addition to the roster had his first career carry. He finished the game with 4 carries for 19 yards…Valor defensive back, Tracy Belton, recorded his 50th career interception during the game. He is the seventh player in Arena Football History to reach that plateau.