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Samuels sets new yardage record

Published Feb. 26, 2006

Wide receiver/linebacker Lawrence Samuels became the Storm's career leader in receiving yards in the second quarter of the 58-48 victory over Austin.

Samuels (7,851 yards) broke the record of 7,784 held by Stevie Thomaswith a 20-yard reception to the Austin 9 on a crossing pattern.

The game was stopped with 11 minutes, 24 seconds left in the quarter, and Thomas stepped on the field to congratulate Samuels, who backed him up during the mid 1990s.

"It's very special," Samuels said. "Stevie has been the guy that's been my mentor all throughout my career. He made big plays for this organization, and I was just trying to follow in his footsteps."

Samuels (641) broke Thomas' all-time record for receptions last season. Thomas still holds the team mark for career receiving touchdowns (150). Samuels is third (115), behind Thomas and George LaFrance(127).

Samuels (356) passed Tracey Perkins for the team's career lead in tackles during a 67-64 overtime loss to Orlando on Feb. 19.

"What can you say?" Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "He's just the best football player to ever play in this game, in my opinion."

FEW HAPPY RETURNS: Lynaris Elpheage didn't fare much better than Jonathan Ordway in his first game at kick returner. Elpheage, who replaced Ordway after turnovers led to opponent's scores the last three weeks, had trouble fielding balls off the net and might have lost one had Jeff Sanchez not scooped up a ball that got away from Elpheage.

"I was a little anxious, because I never did it," Elpheage said. "It bounced off the net, and I'm turning a little too early. But it worked out all right. I didn't turn it over, so that was a big thing."

WORTH A KICK? The Storm's kicking game wasn't much better, as former USF kicker Bill Gramatica, younger brother of ex-Buc Martin Gramatica, missed an extra point and had three kickoffs go out of bounds.

Gramatica made a 25-yard field goal but missed from 31 and 47 yards.

"Our kickoffs are just horrendous," Marcum said. "He kicks all his extra points and kicked the field goal. But he's got to work on his kickoffs."

BLAST FROM THE PAST: As part of the Arena League's 20th anniversary season, the Storm is planning an alumni day for its final home game April 29 against Kansas City.

WELCOME VISIT: Storm quarterbacks Shane Stafford and Brett Dietz, lineman Nyle Wirenand receivers/defensive backs Elpheage and Sanchez will visit the children's ward at Tampa Shriners Hospital on Monday. They will participate in various activities, including basketball and volleyball.

STORM FLURRIES: Fullback/linebacker Umar Muhammad had a touchdown run and tackle for loss despite missing practice this week with the flu. Lineman Greg Taplin was inactive.