Fullback's four TDs lift the Storm in opener

By Thomas Foote, Special to the Times
Published March 2, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Storm fullback Torrance Marshall ran for four touchdowns and Sedrick Robinson caught a 23-yard score from quarterback Brett Dietz with 6:03 left as Tampa Bay held off the Kansas City Brigade 51-49 on Saturday in the Arena Football League opener for both teams.

After the Brigade scored to pull within two, it made a goal-line stand that allowed for one last gasp. But Peter Martinez's field-goal attempt bounced off the left screen with no time remaining.

There were two plays that turned the game around for the Storm: a recovery of a fumbled Brigade kickoff return and a fourth-quarter interception by linebacker Marvin Brown.

"The fumble that they had on the kickoff return kept us in the game," Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "Any turnover is critical in this game. It's a game of possessions."

The Storm defense was particularly effective in the red zone. The front line made the Brigade work for its yards at crunch time. At one point, the Brigade turned to 375-pound lineman Jamarr Ward for a carry in the red zone. He was stopped short of the goal line.

Marshall, on the other hand, was a force in close, aided by three linemen and a fullback paving the way. His four touchdown runs accounted for 8 of his 10 total rushing yards.

"When we get down there, everyone knows what we're going to do," Marshall said. "It's all a matter of having the heart to do it."

The Storm went ahead 30-28 after the fumbled kickoff return, Marshall going in from 3 yards out with 13:14 left in the third quarter.

Kansas City quarterback John Fitzgerald hit Charles Frederick with a 1-yard touchdown with 7:36 left, and the kick put the Brigade up 35-30.

But Marshall ran for his fourth score, another 1-yarder, with 4:17 left to retake the lead.

In the first quarter, Storm wide receiver Lawrence Samuels hauled in his 900th career AFL catch. He finished with five catches for 45 yards. Marshall finished that drive, going the last 3 yards for his first score of the day.

Dietz went 18-of-25 for 193 yards and two scores. He added a 1-yard rushing touchdown.

Storm 51

Brigade 49