On Saturday, the Washington Valor (1-4) and Tampa Bay Storm (5-1) completed a home-and-home series. With just 3.6 seconds left, the Valor were in a desperate situation, down by six with the ball deep in their own territory, their only play was a Hail Mary. Erik Meyer completed the first pass to Greg Carr, but after the ball landed in Charles McClain‘s hands, it fell harmlessly near midfield, sealing a 53-47 Storm victory.
Washington, who has struggled offensively all season, started a solid performance with a Meyer touchdown sneak, causing Tampa Bay to chase the game for most of the night. Whenever the Storm scored, the Valor answered right back.
First, LaMark Brown got the home team on the board with a 13-yard catch. Then, former Storm tight end Anthony Parker scampered into the end zone to regain the lead.
The two teams continued to trade scores, but after Washington got a stop near the one-minute warning for halftime, a future Hall of Famer made some history. T.T. Toliver caught a 30-yard pass from Erik Meyer to give the Valor a 26-14 lead.
With that catch, Toliver became the fifth player in Arena Football League history to score 2,000 points in their career. Continuing the theme, the Storm matched with some history of their own, as a drive that saw Randy Hippeard off on some passes and Kendrick Ings dropping others.
Joe Hills ends a necessary scoring drive with a 37-yard touchdown, extending his scoring streak to 74 consecutive games (now four shy of the league record) to cut the deficit to 26-20. Tampa Bay ended the half by grabbing a contested interception at the goal line to prevent another score.
The Storm started the second half on the good foot, as it were, as Mark Lewis recovered a fumble on his own kickoff, and Ings made his second touchdown catch of the night to tie the game at 26. The two teams continued to trade blows, until finally, in the fourth quarter, the Storm slowed down the Valor just enough to get a stop. The turnover on downs was enough to open the door, and Hills’ second grab of the night let Tampa Bay walk though for their first lead of the game.
The teams would trade scores again, with Bernard Morris finding Roger “Spiderman” Jackson, who had an incredible night, for a tying score with 37.7 seconds left in the game. But Randy Hippeard led the last big drive of the night, finishing off by finding Hills in the end zone one last time for the deciding score to set up the finish.
Tampa Bay goes into their second bye week at 5-1, and will return with a matchup against the Baltimore Brigade. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 at Amalie Arena.