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)

Tampa Bay Storm must wade through Jacksonville Sharks to secure homefield advantage

TAMPA — Once upon a time, in the Arena Football League's previous life, Tampa Bay and Orlando tangled in an instate battle known as the "War on I-4." There were classic battles waged that will go down as some of the league's more memorable games.

Related News/Archive

Move over, Orlando. There's a new Sunshine State rivalry.

The Storm (10-3) and Sharks (9-4) meet at 7 tonight in Jacksonville with Tampa Bay's winning streak on the line and playoff implications at stake. A win for the Storm locks up the Southern Division title and guarantees it homefield advantage throughout the American Conference playoffs. A loss ties the teams with two games remaining; the Sharks would own the tiebreaker.

"There has been a lot more focus throughout the week," defensive lineman Cliff Dukes said. "This is for the division against an instate rival who beat us."

In fact, the Sharks were the last team to defeat Tampa Bay, 46-43 on May 7. Since then, the Storm has reeled off eight straight wins (team record is nine in a row).

"That (first Jacksonville) game is one we should have, could have, won," Dukes said.

Tampa Bay turned the ball over five times, including a fumble inside the Sharks' 15-yard line with 30 seconds to play.

"When you turn the ball over five times," Storm coach Tim Marcum said, "you should lose by more than three."

Dukes said securing homefield would be a major step toward winning the Storm's sixth championship. Tampa Bay leads the league in attendance with 14,818, about 3,000 more than the next-closest team.

"When we score or the defense gets a stop, the fans go crazy and it send chills up my back," he said. "They are so loud. It makes a huge difference when we're (at home)."

Marcum said the key to this game is simple: "Aaron Garcia, Aaron Garcia, Aaron Garcia. As he goes, so goes the Sharks."

Last week, Garcia, a 16-year veteran, became the first professional football player at any level to score 1,000 combined touchdowns in a career. In the first meeting vs. Tampa Bay, Garcia threw for 342 yards and five scores.

The Storm will count heavily on its pass rush to throw off Garcia's timing. Storm lineman Tim McGill set a team record last week against Dallas with 17 pressures.

"If we can win the battle up the middle, which I think we can," Marcum said. "We'll be in good shape."


Storm at Jacksonville

When/where: 7; Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena

TV/radio: BHSN; 1250-AM

Tampa Bay Storm must wade through Jacksonville Sharks to secure homefield advantage 07/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title


    OMAHA, Neb. — Florida scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from LSU, and the Gators beat their SEC rival 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals for their first national title in baseball.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.
  2. As NCAA investigation continues, Baylor dances around sex-assault scandal


    In 1996, Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University lifted its 151-year-old ban and allowed dancing on its Waco, Texas campus.

  3. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.