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. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  5. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)