Lead by QB Brett Dietz, the Storm got off to a slow start in Saturday's matchup at home against the Alabama Vipers.
By the time the dust had settled, the Storm emerged victorious by a score of 53-29 before an announced attendance of 15,685.
Alabama had lost the toss and received for the first possession of the game, working their way down the field to kick a field goal on what was technically a "fifth" down. The field had incorrectly played fourth down twice.
Completing only 23 yards in the air and none on the ground in the first quarter, the Storm were unable to respond, leaving the Vipers to another possession consisting of a lateral from QB Tony Colston to WR Michael Johnson, completing a long pass to Dan Alexander, good for another 6 + PAT.
Re-energized by what appeared to be Alabama's defense taunting the Storm offensive line, Tampa Bay charged back in the second quarter with Dietz completing nine out of 11 attempted passes.
Eric Otriz rushed for two TDs, Alamaba QB Colston was sacked for a safety, Terrance Royal carried the ball in for a TD, and Garret Rivas put one between the uprights for a 21-yard FG after an interception by Johnathan Ordway with 55.4 seconds to go in the half.
At the half, the score was 26-10.
By the end of the third quarter, the Tampa Bay defense was still on a roll. Dietz had completed another six passes, completing over 200 yards. The defensive power from the second quarter had continued, including Michael Hawthorne recovering a fumble in the end zone for a TD. Tampa Bay only allowed a single Alabama TD, leaving the score at 47-16 going into the fourth quarter.
The first TD pass of the fourth quarter saw history being made in the St. Pete Times Forum. Brett Dietz had become only the sixth player in AFL history to reach 100 TD passes in a season. This feat has been accomplished nine times in total, twice by the last player to complete 100 passes in a season, Mark Grieb.
In an attempt to pick up momentum, the Vipers charged down the field for another TD, setting the scoreboard at 53-29, where it would remain for the remainder of the game.
Now sitting at 11-4, the Storm are preparing to enter the playoffs. One regular season game remains on Saturday July 30 at home vs. the Orlando Predators, who clinched the last remaining playoff spot this week.
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