TAMPA BAY, FL (July 20, 2013) – The Pittsburgh Power beat the Tampa Bay Storm, 48-37, in front of the largest crowd in the Arena Football League this season, 16,118, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this evening. With the win, the Power (4-13) stop a seven-game losing streak while the Storm (7-10) extended their losing skid to six games. Despite the loss tonight, the Storm clinched a berth in the AFL Playoffs.
Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh failed to score on each of their opening drives. On the first play of the next Storm offensive series, Power middle linebacker Gary Butler, the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, forced a fumble which was recovered by teammate Alvin Ray Jackson who then ran the ball back 18 yards before handing the ball off to defensive back Sergio Gilliam, who ran the ball in for the final 15 yards for the touchdown (AFL Play Of The Game) to put the Power up 7-0. Tampa Bay failed to score on their third straight drive, and Pittsburgh’s offense would get on the scoreboard as quarterback Shane Austin’s 3-yard touchdown rush put the Power up 14-0. Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard answered quickly; hitting wide receiver Joe Hills on a 12-yard pass to cut the Pittsburgh lead to 14-7. Austin was sacked in the endzone on the next Power drive, and despite the safety, the Power held the lead, 14-9 at the end of the 1st Quarter.
The Storm turned the ball over on downs to start the 2nd Quarter, but capitalized when Austin fumbled on a quarterback sneak at the Tampa Bay 1-yard line. Tampa Bay defensive lineman R.J. Roberts recovered the fumble and ran it 48 yards for a touchdown, putting the Storm up for the first time, 16-14. Two drives later, Pittsburgh answered as Austin threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Tyrone Collins to put the Power up 21-16. On Tampa Bay’s next possession, the game was delayed for several minutes as Pittsburgh defensive lineman Dominie Pittman was injured on a tackle. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, and sent to a local hospital for precautionary measures. The Power held the 21-16 lead at halftime.
Pittsburgh got the ball to start the second half, but turned the ball over on downs at their own 7-yard line. Tampa Bay scored two plays later when Hippeard connected on a 5-yard pass to Hills, the Russell Athletic Offensive Player Of The Game, to take back the lead, 23-21. That was the only scoring drive for either team in the 3rd Quarter.
Pittsburgh started the 4th Quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Austin to Mike Washington, and the Power regained the lead, 28-23. On the ensuing drive, Tampa Bay jumped back on top, 30-28, when Hippeard hit receiver Chris Davis with 19-yard touchdown pass. The Power answered back as Tyrone Collins caught a 44-yard bomb from Austin, putting Pittsburgh up, 35-30. A few drives later, Austin found Washington again to extend Pittsburgh’s lead, 42-30. The teams would trade scores one last time, but the Power sealed the game with a Gilliam interception with 34 seconds remaining and won 48-37, for their third road win of the season.
Power quarterback Shane Austin finished the game 18-for-32 with 249 yards and 5 total touchdowns (4 passing/1 rushing). Wide receiver Mike Washington had 6 receptions, 109 yards receiving and 2 touchdown grabs.
Storm wide receiver Joe Hills had 7 receptions for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Randy Hippeard threw for 202 yards on 25-45 passing with 2 touchdowns.
The Power visit Spokane, WA this Friday, July 26 for the final game of the 2013 season against their third straight AFL playoff qualifier. Kickoff against the Shock at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is at 10:00 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on TribLIVE Radio SportsTalk.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay’s Joe Hills
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Pittsburgh’s Gary Butler
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay’s Michael Lindsey
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Pittsburgh’s Tyrone Collins’ Touchdown In 4th Quarter
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Pittsburgh’s Sergio Gilliam’s Fumble Recovery Return For Touchdown In 1st Quarter