Week 18 Preview
The Pittsburgh Power will meet up with the Tampa Bay Storm this Saturday as Pittsburgh looks to take down the team that used to reside in their home city.
Before they were the Storm, the franchise called Pittsburgh home under the Gladiators nickname. The team left for Tampa Bay in 1991 and will be making it’s first trip back to the Steel City since 1990.
The Power come in on unfamiliar terms, off of a win. The Power return home after pulling off the comeback win in Iowa last Saturday marking their first on-field win since April 14.
The win got a giant monkey off the players’ and Head Coach Derek Stingley’s back and they made sure they enjoyed the victory.
“I told the guys for every win we’re going to celebrate. I want them to know the feeling and want to get back to that feeling.”
Last week in Iowa, Andrico Hines was named the starting quarterback for Mike Tomczak’s offense and he played the role admirably. Hines threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns and added another two scores on the ground.
“He was a little rusty,” Stingley said. “But I knew as the game went on that he’d make the throws he needed to make.”
Hines is expected to make his sixth start on the year this Saturday against Tampa.
After starting off the season 5-3, the Storm have dropped six of their last seven contests giving them a 6-9 record on the year. The Storm have made a quarterback change on the season, giving the keys to Nick Hill. Since being named starter on Week 14, Hill has thrown for 1,362 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Stephen Wasil has still been seeing some action at quarterback for the Storm. Wasil was the starter at the beginning of the season, so Coach Stingley said he’s still not certain who will be calling signals for the Storm this weekend.
“Both of them are pretty good quarterbacks,” He said. “We’re ready for whichever one.”
The Power defense was a huge factor in last week’s win, which yielded four sacks and two safeties. The pass rush will have to continue to dominate and put pressure on Hill in order for Chris LeFlore and the Power secondary to make plays on the ball.
Coach Stingley said the only real negative of the pass rush’s performance from last Saturday is that Tampa Bay has seen the film and knows what his defense is capable of.
“We put a good showing out there last week,” he said. “They might change some personnel to match up with us.”
The Storm come into CONSOL looking for their first road win. Power captain Neil Purvis noted, “We were there not too long ago” adding the Power won’t take their opponent lightly.
His head coach added to the sentiments.
“Whether they’re on a four-game losing streak or don’t have a road win or are undefeated our mindset is to where we need to win. Period,” Stingley said. “This team is still hungry for wins.”
“Our goal is to win out,” he added, “And right now Tampa Bay is in our way.”
The Pittsburgh Power took over Market Square Friday afternoon to put on a public walk through before Saturday’s games. Power fans and lunchers in the Pittsburgh area got to take in a unique experience by watching practice.
Christian Wise will definitely see some time at defensive back this week, according to Coach Stingley. He touted Wise as a special player who embodies what Arena Football is all about.
Quotes of the Week
Power defensive end and captain Neil Purvis commented on the public practice this past Friday.
“Anytime you get a chance to come out and interact with the town and your fans it’s a good thing.”
Coach Stingley talks about the ability to change the fate of other teams since Pittsburgh’s chances at the playoffs have died.
“For us to go into these games knowing we can get a victory and maybe change some teams’ fates, that’s almost like our playoffs. Naturally we’re expecting to win. That’s what we’re practicing for.”
Tampa Bay Storm (6-9)
Last Game: L vs Philadelphia 83-79
Player to Watch: Prechae Rodriguez- The Storm’s leading receiver. Will really test the Power secondary who are one of the best in the league.
Game Time: Kickoff from CONSOL Energy Center will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night. The game can be caught on the Pittsburgh CW as well as TribLive Radio and our Ustream page.