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Receiver Huey Whittaker provides glimmer of hope for Tampa Bay Storm

Huey Whittaker looks for yards after one of his 15 catches (two off the Storm record) during Saturday’s loss to Dallas.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Huey Whittaker looks for yards after one of his 15 catches (two off the Storm record) during Saturday’s loss to Dallas.

TAMPA — Tampa Bay struggled in yet another home loss Saturday, losing 67-61 to Dallas. But Huey Whittaker certainly did his part.

Whittaker, a graduate of Spring Hill's Springstead High who starred at USF, was named the Arena League offensive player of the week after catching 15 passes for 193 yards and five touchdowns.

His 15 receptions were two shy of the franchise record set by fellow USF alum DeAndrew Rubin last season against Orlando. And the 193 receiving yards were fifth most.

"He's been big for us," coach Dave Ewart said. "That's the type of effort we need from him week in and week out."

Whittaker leads the Storm (2-4 overall and 0-3 at home) with 54 catches and 600 yards and is tied with Hank Edwards with 10 touchdowns.

Net Loss: Tampa Bay had trouble Saturday with kickoffs caroming off the net, allowing Dallas to recover two for touchdowns. It's a problem that has bitten the Storm earlier in the season as well, but it's hard to get better at something without practice.

Tampa Bay hasn't been able to practice at the St. Pete Times Forum while the Lightning is in the playoffs. And neither of the Storm's outdoor practice facilities have netting.

"It's hard to blame guys when they can't get in any work at (receiving balls off the net)," Ewart said.

Ewart said he didn't know if the Storm would practice at the Times Forum when the Lightning's playoff run ends.

Injuries: DL Richard Clebert, (sprained knee) who hasn't played since March 27, is doubtful for Saturday's game at Milwaukee. The status of QB Grant Gregory (ankle), DB Markihe Anderson (neck) and Terrence Royal (ankle) will be decided later this week.

Long Season: Although Tampa Bay has sputtered to a 2-4 start, Ewart said he has seen no quit in his team and expects it to turn things around.

"Those guys last week kept fighting until the final horn, and that was good to see," he said. "We still have 12 games left last I checked, and we plan on turning this thing around."

>>Up next

Storm at Milwaukee

When/where: 8 p.m. Saturday; Bradley Center

Radio: 620-AM

Next home game: vs. Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. May 13

Tickets: (813) 301-6600;

tampabaystorm.com

Receiver Huey Whittaker provides glimmer of hope for Tampa Bay Storm 04/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:43pm]
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