Barnstormers Held Off by Storm in Overtime Matchup, 62-56
Des Moines, IA – The Iowa Barnstormers (6-7) lost a heartbreaking overtime battle to the Tampa Bay Storm (7-6) in front of 8,862 fans of Wells Fargo Arena. Looking to defend their home turf, the Iowa Barnstormers took the field with high intensity and vengeance. In the first possession of the game, Iowa quarterback J.J. Raterink connected a 32-yard touchdown pass with receiver Marco Thomas for the first score of the game. After a kickoff by Iowa’s Ross Gornall, the Barnstormers defense took no time in taking down Tampa’s leading returner Michael Lindsey. After making their way down the field, Lindsey grabbed an end zone pass from Tampa quarterback Randy Hippeard, tying the score early in the night. In Iowa’s second score of the game, receiver Darius Reynolds held off two defenders in the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown. Tampa was able to tie up the score with a quick-fire touchdown pass to the franchise leading receiver T.T. Toliver. Iowa 14, Tampa Bay 14.
Going in to a knotted second quarter, Barnstormers defensive lineman Jarvis Reed tallied his first-ever sack in the Arena Football League. On the ensuing drive, the Storm was pushed back even further with another Barnstormers sack, this time by defensive lineman Darnell Carter. This Storm possession was forced to a halt when defensive back Mervin Brookins intercepted the ball from Hippeard. Taking advantage of the turnover, Reynolds hauled one in bringing the Barnstormers another seven point lead. Continuing a huge quarter, Mike Lewis collected the team’s third sack of the night, his tenth of the season. Once again, the Storm retaliated to tie the score. Another touchdown by the Barnstormers would allow the home team to pull ahead with the lead. Ensuring the Storm wouldn’t answer back, Tramain Thomas snagged his fifth interception of the 2014 season to finish off the first half. Iowa 28, Tampa 21.
Heading into the third, the Tampa Bay Storm scored an easy touchdown on the first snap of the half. Tampa Bay struck again, with a 17-yard pass to Joe Hills allowing the Storm to take the lead, 36-28. The Barnstormers answered back with an 8-yard touchdown pass to DeJay Lester, tying the game up yet again, 35-35. Striving to take the lead, the Storm scored with a 5-yard rush by Hippeard, 42-35. Quickly changing the momentum in favor of Iowa, Reynolds took control with a touchdown on the ground. Working quickly down the field, the Storm managed back-to-back touchdowns. Hoping to get back in the game, Iowa moved rapidly down the turf. J.J Raterink connected with M. Thomas, making the score 56-48.
Iowa’s defense recovered a massive fumble, putting the ball back in the Barnstormers hands. Down by 8 and Barnstormers in scoring position with :1 left on the clock, the Barnstormers offense worked their magic with J.J Raterink connecting with M. Thomas, 56-54. However, the Barnstormers still needed a 2-point conversion to the tie the game. With Reynolds taking the snap, he scrambled to find an open man. In the final seconds, he found M. Thomas. A tied score 56-56, the game propelled into overtime.
Tampa Bay began the overtime battle with the ball, however the Barnstormers momentum hit a high when Brookins caught an interception in the end zone. In need of one score to take the victory, the Barnstormers were unable to find the end zone. Not taking their final shot at the victory for granted, Hippeard ran one in for the win, 62-56. Iowa quarterback J.J. Raterink went 33-for-52 while tallying six touchdown passes. His 398 passing yards broke the previous franchise record for single game yards, previously held by Brad Banks (397). Tampa’s Randy Hippeard completed 22-of-31 passes, collecting six touchdowns for 280 yards.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Iowa J.J. Raterink
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