Wranglers Fall To Storm, 66-45
AUSTIN-Two costly interceptions proved the difference as the Wranglers fell to the Tampa Bay Storm 66-45 in front of 13,110 fans in Austin. Coming off an overtime victory and a bye-week, the Wranglers hoped to be refreshed and ready for another heated Southern Division battle.
Early in the game, things were looking to favor Tampa Bay as they took a 10-0 lead early, until Wranglers quarterback Adrian McPherson found a streaking Derrick Lewis down the field for a 44-yard score, bringing the score to 10-7 Tampa Bay. However, Storm quarterback Brett Dietz responded with a score of his own, connecting with receiver Lawrence Samuels to increase the Tampa Bay lead to 17-7.
After a fourth down trick play that resulted in a Sedrick Robinson touchdown, which was eventually called back due to an "illegal kick" penalty, the Storm took over at the Austin eight-yard line, looking to increase their lead and momentum. The Wranglers defense would refuse to allow either to happen as lineman Ramon Richardson, along with a gang of Austin defenders, took down Storm fullback and former Wrangler Torrance Marshall for a one-yard loss on a fourth down run.
Following the fourth-down stop, the momentum began to swing in favor of the Wranglers as McPherson and D. Lewis would get together for their second score of the game on a 40-yard bomb, bringing the fans to their feet and the score to 17-14 Tampa Bay.
With more than three minutes left in the half, the Storm offense had the ball on the Austin one-yard line again. As fans grew increasingly louder in hope of a huge defensive stop, Marshall plunged into the end zone giving the Storm a 24-14 lead.
The Wranglers were in desperate need of a score before half, and with the clock ticking away the Wranglers offense got to work. With 20 seconds to play, Wranglers D. Lewis was looking to bring down his third score of the game when Tampa Bay defensive back Jeroid Johnson interfered with the pass, putting the Wranglers offense on the three-yard line. Austin would settle for an 18-yard field goal from kicker Mark Lewis to take them into halftime down 24-17.
The second half would not start on a good note as an errant McPherson pass was intercepted by J. Johnson and returned to the Wranglers five-yard line. Following a one-yard run from Dietz, Marshall punched in from one-yard out for his second score of the game, giving the Storm a 31-17 lead.
After a failed fourth-down conversion for the Austin offense, the Storm took over at the 25-yard line, but would not keep the ball for long as Dietz would suffer a devastating hit from Austin's Sakeen Wright causing a fumble that was recovered by Richardson.
The Austin offense would not take long to begin their comeback, as McPherson found D. Lewis wide-open down the field for his third score of the game, cutting the Tampa Bay lead to 31-24.
Following another Tampa Bay touchdown, Austin's Sedrick Robinson blazed past the Storm defenders on an electrifying 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, pulling the Wranglers within seven points at 38-31 as they entered into the fourth and final quarter.
The kick return for a touchdown was the 25th of Robinson's career, adding on to his own AFL kickoff return touchdown record.
The following Storm possession would consist of four plays for 45 yards, and saw Marshall cap off the drive with a one-yard touchdown, his third of the game against his former team.
Austin would start their drive at the Storm's 18-yard line following another great kickoff return from Robinson, who would also be the man to finish the drive with an eight-yard run into the end zone to put the score at 45-38 Tampa Bay.
Following a Storm touchdown, the Wranglers would begin to unravel on their next possession as McPherson was picked off for a second time by Johnson, who this time returned it all the way for a Storm score, putting Tampa Bay ahead 21 points, 59-38.
In order to win this game, the Wranglers offense needed to put points on the board, and they needed to do it quick. They did just that on their next possession as McPherson and D. Lewis would connect for the fourth time in the game on yet another, 44-yard score.
However, the on-side attempt that followed the Austin touchdown fell into the hands of Tampa Bay, ending the hope for a Wranglers comeback.
With the loss, the Wranglers fall to 3-6 on the season, while Tampa Bay goes to 3-7 with the win.
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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from May 6, 2007
- Gladiators Lose Eighth Straight in 59-37 Loss to Avengers - Las Vegas Gladiators
- Wranglers Fall To Storm, 66-45 - Austin Wranglers
- Rattlers Snake Bit By SaberCats, 56-49 - Arizona Rattlers
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