Tampa Bay Storm LB Cliff Dukes' amazing season continued Friday against Spokane. He earned Arena Football League defensive player of the week honors after recording 21/2 sacks and 41/2 tackles, including three for a loss, and a blocked kick against the Shock.
The second-year player leads the AFL in sacks (101/2) and tackles for loss (13). Dukes is five sacks behind Gabe Nyenhuis’ single-season record of 151/2 with eight games remaining.
Smith Shines: While Dukes has the single-season sack mark well within reach, Jermaine Smith etched his name in the record books last week. Smith blocked a pair of extra points against Spokane, giving him 14 for his career and moving the veteran defensive lineman into first for most blocked kicks in the AFL. Smith also notched a sack in the third quarter to give him 461/2 for his career, fourth best in league history.
If two is a streak, three is a trend: The Storm's 51-42 win at Spokane marked just the first time Tampa Bay (4-6) has won back-to-back games this season. The Storm, which has a bye this week, looks to make it three in a row when it travels to 5-5 Georgia on June 4.
Offensive line woes: Injuries have blown some major holes in the team's front three. Starter Tom Kaleita hurt his knee at Spokane and was placed on injured reserve, joining fellow starter Manny Akah (knee). The Storm was so thin against Spokane that Smith was forced into taking some snaps on the offensive line. In some positive injury news, WR Hank Edwards will be eligible to come off IR before the Georgia game. Edwards, who has been on the shelf since breaking a bone in his hand this month, has been fitted with a new cast and will test it out next week.