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Storm Outlast VooDoo in Overtime

By: Brandon Rizzuto
Josh Bush set new VooDoo single-game records in receiving yards (256) and all-purpose yards (349) in the loss.
TAMPA (July 14, 2012) – Despite having a 17-point advantage in the 4th quarter, the New Orleans VooDoo (8-9, 5-2) could not hold on as the Tampa Bay Storm (8-9, 4-4) won 78-77 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night.

The VooDoo received a career effort from wide receiver Josh Bush with 256 yards receiving – a new team record for receiving yards in a game – and 5 touchdowns on 9 receptions, while also contributing 90 yards on kickoff returns for 349 all-purpose yards – a new VooDoo single-game record for all-purpose yards. 

The 5 receiving touchdowns also tied a VooDoo single-game record, originally set by Wendall Williams in 2007.

VooDoo quarterback Kurt Rocco also added a new page to the VooDoo record book, tossing 9 touchdowns in the game to set a new team record for passing touchdowns in a single season.  Rocco surpassed Andy Kelly’s 2005 mark of 96, becoming the first VooDoo quarterback to throw over 100 touchdowns in a single-season.  Rocco finished the game with 366 yards passing, completing 20-of-33 pass attempts.

Still, it wasn’t enough to leave Tampa Bay with a victory.

“This is a tough loss for us a team, but we still control our own destiny.  We have a huge game next week at home.  Win and we are in; plain and simple.  It is important for The Graveyard to be at full capacity.  We are going to need you, New Orleans,” said VooDoo Head Coach Pat O’Hara.

New Orleans nursed a 17-point, 63-46, lead early in the fourth quarter, but Tampa Bay steadily fought back and did so by recovering two onside kicks that both led to 1-yard touchdown runs by Storm quarterback Stephen Wasil.  Wasil finished with a career-best 358 passing yards, completing 24-of-39 passes that included 7 touchdown passes, 2 rushing touchdowns, and an interception.

After Wasil’s second rushing touchdown, the Storm took a 67-63 lead with 49 seconds left.  The VooDoo came back with a score via an 8-yard touchdown throw-and-catch from Rocco to L.J. Castile for a 70-67 lead with 22 seconds left.

The Storm had the final possession and kicker Juan Bongarra made a 38-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game at 70, sending the thriller to overtime.  In overtime, the VooDoo had the first possession and struggled to move the ball, but Bush came through again with 4th down magic, catching an under-thrown pass in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown from Rocco to put the VooDoo on top, 77-70.

After the score, Tampa Bay followed suit with one of its own, but opted for the 2-point try rather than the PAT to send the game to sudden death.  The gamble paid off as the Storm’s Wasil found Michael Lindsey at the goal line to successful convert and ultimately win the game. 

With the win, Tampa is back in the playoff and must win and get help to get in the postseason; with the loss, the VooDoo will enter a must-win situation next week against the Georgia Force to taste postseason for only the second time in franchise history.

The VooDoo will host the Force on Saturday, July 21 in The Graveyard at 7 p.m. and the Storm faces a long road trip to the Spokane Shock.

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About the New Orleans VooDoo

The New Orleans VooDoo will play in the New Orleans Arena, an SMG managed facility directly across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Single game tickets for VooDoo regular season home games are on sale now by calling 504-875-3900.  For more information call (888) 277-5526 for Vice President and Director of Operations, Jason Coffel.  To shop all things VooDoo, visit www.voodoostuff.com and get your gear today.

About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the AFL has afforded the fast-paced and exciting game of Arena Football to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country.  The NFL Network will once again broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week for the entire regular and post season on Friday nights at 8:00 pm EST, culminating with the ArenaBowl Championship Game in August.


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