Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Storm

Tampa Bay Storm beats Jacksonville Sharks 71-69 on game's final play

TAMPA — A wild start — four touchdowns among the first five plays — gave way to a wilder ending Friday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Stephen Wasil hit Prechae Rodriguez for a 1-yard touchdown on the final play to give the Storm a 71-69 victory over Jacksonville before 8,446.

"That was the craziest game I've ever played in," Rodriguez said.

Down 65-62 with 37 seconds left, the Sharks (1-2) took over at their 11 with 37 seconds left.

On third and 13 from the 7 with 13 seconds left, Bernard Morris heaved a pass down the field. Terrance Smith outjumped two defenders at the 5 and stumbled into the end zone. Marc Capozzoli's extra point put the Sharks ahead 69-65.

"But it's never over until there's zero, zero on the scoreboard," Rodriguez said.

After a touchback, the Storm (2-1) took over at its 5 with 4.5 seconds left. Wasil threw an incompletion into the Sharks end zone, but officials called pass interference. And because it was ruled intentional pass interference in the end zone, the ball was placed at the Sharks 1 and 4.5 seconds put back on the clock.

"(Pass interference is) what we were looking for in that situation," Storm coach Dave Ewart said. "And they made the right call."

On the next play, Wasil rolled left and hit Rodriguez (11 catches for 102 yards) for the pair's fifth touchdown connection of the night.

"I got physical with their DB, and (Wasil) made a perfect throw," Rodriguez said.

The Storm led 14-13 3:58 into the game despite having run just one play from scrimmage and the Sharks none:

• Riley Swanson returned a fumble on the opening kickoff 4 yards into the end zone to put the Storm ahead 7-0.

• Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown to tie it.

• One play after Chandler Williams (14 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns) returned the ensuing kickoff to the 23, Wasil hit him for a 27-yard score that put Tampa Bay back ahead 14-7.

• Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown. But Capozzoli missed the extra point, leaving the Storm ahead.

Jacksonville didn't run its first play from scrimmage until 6:04 remained in the first quarter. It took its first lead on a 32-yard Jeron Harvey catch with 2:24 left in the second quarter. But Rodriguez caught his third touchdown of the half with nine seconds left to tie it at 34.

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