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Force hold off Storm

 

 

DULUTH — The Georgia Force held Tampa Bay to 10 first-half points and never trailed en route to a 60-49 win over the Storm in Arena Football League action in front of 4,023 fans Saturday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

After a low-scoring first half, both teams got cooking in the usual fast-paced AFL style of football as the two teams combined for 74 points in the final 30 minutes.

But Georgia (7-5) had built a 15-point halftime lead and continued to find holes in the Tampa Bay secondary.

Tampa Bay (4-7) cut the Georgia lead to 46-36 early in the fourth quarter and attempted an onside kick.

But Georgia recovered and cashed in when Brett Elliott found Maurice Purify for his fourth TD catch of the game, giving the Force a 53-36 advantage.

“In games that we lost, we really beat ourselves,” said Georgia head coach Dean Cokinos, whose team has won two in a row after a three-game skid. “We have to limit our mistakes and if we feel like if we do that, we can get on a roll. It was a good division win against a good opponent.”

Georgia racked up 125 yards of total offense on 11 first downs in the first half, scoring on four of five possessions to roll up a 25-10 lead at the half.

After Carlos Martinez missed a 52-yard field goal the first time Georgia had the ball on offense, the Force went to work on Elliott’s arm.

Elliott hit on scoring passes of 30 yards to Larry Shipp, nine yards to Purify and two yards to Michael Johnson to build the 15-point lead.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was stagnant on offense in the first half as the Storm managed just one touchdown and a field goal.

After a Kyle Chilton 43-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the opening quarter, Tampa Bay got a 7-yard touchdown pass from Zbydniewski to Amarri Jackson to cut the Georgia lead to 13-10.

But the Storm couldn’t sustain another drive in the half and wound up with just 81 yards and five first downs on offense.

Elliott finished the game 22 of 32 for 248 yards.

“It’s so nice to throw a ball and then have those guys take it all the way,” Elliott said. “You need those quick scores. We’re not a big down the field team, so we need to those guys to run with after the catch.”