Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Storm routs Jacksonville 56-35

Storm receiver Joe Hills goes over the barrier after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter.


Storm receiver Joe Hills goes over the barrier after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter.

TAMPA — It began with Jacksonville. And Saturday night, it ended with Jacksonville.

Related News/Archive

Randy Hippeard tossed six touchdowns in his return and Tampa Bay snapped its five-game losing streak against the team that initiated the skid, defeating the Sharks 56-35 in front of a season-high 12,501 on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"We had every right to go out there and fold when things weren't going our way," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said. "But the guys really responded and paid attention to detail like we always preach."

The Storm, which hadn't won since 63-49 over Philadelphia on April 4, improved to 4-6 and took sole possession of second place in the South Division. Tampa Bay also picked up a game on first-place Orlando (6-4), a 62-61 loser at home to Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay sits a game behind Philadelphia and Iowa for the American Conference's second wild card with eight weeks left in the regular season. Friday, the Storm faces 2-7 New Orleans, whom it beat 62-57 in the season opener.

"We've had a couple bad breaks here and there this season," Hippeard said. "We're definitely way better than our record shows."

Hippeard, who missed last week's 62-34 loss to Philadelphia with a left knee injury, finished 21-of-29 for 255 yards.

"My knee was a little stiff, but I'll get over it," said Hippeard, a second-year player out of Division II Virginia-Wise.

"Our backs were against the wall. We came out fighting and throwing haymakers."

Tampa Bay also got key plays from defensive back James Harrell. The graduate of Tampa's Plant High recovered a mishandled kickoff in the end zone on the final play of the first half to give the Storm a 42-21 lead. (It came after T.T. Tolliver caught a 26-yard touchdown pass with one second left.)

Harrell also picked off a third-quarter pass, which led to Dexter Jackson's 1-yard touchdown run that made it 56-28.

"The kick by Juan (Bongarra) off the bar was huge," Samuels said of Harrell's touchdown. "The guys went down there, hustled, got that play.

"And then it just snowballed on (Jacksonville)."

Tampa Bay was nearly flawless on offense in the first half, scoring on all five possessions. Hippeard delivered two touchdowns to Joe Hills (five catches, 74 yards, three touchdowns), a pair to Tolliver (seven catches, 81 yards, two touchdowns) and one to Alfred McCullough (his only catch of the game).

"I think Randy played with a lot of poise and let the game come to him," Samuels said. "I think he matured over the time he was off."

Storm routs Jacksonville 56-35 05/24/14 [Last modified: Saturday, May 24, 2014 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs start strong vs. Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — On his worst pass of Thursday's preseason game against the Jaguars, Jameis Winston threw a ball from the seat of his pants toward the end zone and it appeared to be intercepted by safety Barry Church.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run, squeaking past Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter.
  2. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  3. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  4. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  5. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The signs of frustration were readily apparent as the Rays trudged toward home Thursday after another game littered with squandered opportunities evolved into another wasted day in the wild-card race with a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter reacts as Justin Smoak circles the bases after hitting a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth.