In a heated, battlefield-like match between the Iowa Barnstormers and Tampa Bay Storm on Saturday June 1, the Barnstormers had just scored and were ahead 62-58 on a J.J. Raterink touchdown run. That left 25 seconds to play in regulation. Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson led his team down the field, and when the Barnstormers defense held, used the last three seconds to hit wide receiver Joe Hills for an unexpected touchdown. The disappointment was evident everywhere you looked, except in the Tampa Bay locker room. The final score: 65-62, Tampa Bay win.
The Barnstormers, led by Raterink on offense, kept pace with the Storm. At the half, the Barnstormers led the Storm 35-28. Raterink completed 25-of-34 passes on the night for 264 yards and seven touchdowns. With a healthy offensive line composed of Anthony Parker, James Economou, Dace Richardson and Tyler Wells, two of them new additions to the Iowa roster, Raterink was able to stay a bit more in-pocket and threw with accuracy. Parker caught an 8-yard Raterink pass for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the second quarter. If Raterink hadn’t been sacked late in the fourth quarter for a safety, one can only imagine what may been the end result.
The Barnstormers defense had their hands full with McPherson. Not only did he complete 26-of-39 passes for 286 yards and six touchdowns, but he ran for three scores as well. On a classic Arena Football night, McPherson was a leader for Tampa Bay. The Barnstormers’ defense got a big break in the third quarter when defensive lineman Mike Lewis forced a fumble by McPherson. The recovery led to a one-yard rushing score by Iowa quarterback Brian Reader. The play gave the Barnstormers their largest lead of the game at 14 points. The defense was also able to sack McPherson five times for a loss of 28 yards. Lewis was credited with three, Matangi Tonga and Mario Ambrose with one apiece.
The two teams played as if it were the Arena Bowl. Hard hits and a short scrum or two showed the physicality of the Barnstormers and the Storm. Several players went down temporarily injured. On Monday, Barnstormers defensive back Erick McIntosh agreed that the game was a battle. “I kinda expected it to be like it [because] I played the past three seasons with Tampa, but it got a little out of hand,” said McIntosh. “I don’t play cheap football. It’s one thing to go out and compete but to take cheap shots and play dirty is a totally different story.”
Barnstormers fullback Kai Brown saw some of his best action of the season in the fourth quarter of the game. While he has been utilized mostly as an extra blocker for most of 2013, Brown’s play was critical to running down the clock. Brown had two rushes for nine yards and was stopped just short of the goal-line. Brown also caught one pass for nine yards for a touchdown.
Marco Thomas led all Barnstormers receivers with 11 catches for 149 yards and four touchdowns. His longest reception went for 33 yards. The over-the-head catch earned Thomas the Cutter’s Catch of the Game. Jesse Schmidt had six catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Harris had six catches for 49 yards.
De’Mon Glanton led the team in tackles with 11, two were assisted. Barnstormers who had at least one tackle include: Ter’Ran Benton (9), Lewis (7), John Mohring (7), Tonga (4), McIntosh (3), Brown (3), Ambrose (3). Odrick Ray had 2 assists.
The Barnstormers will travel next weekend (Friday) to face the Cleveland Gladiators. The next home game is scheduled for Saturday, June 15 when the Barnstormers host the San Jose Sabercats at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
- Iowa Barnstormers Official Site
- Complete photo gallery of RTA Sports Photography’s pics from the game
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