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Force exact revenge on Storm

DULUTH -- Georgia avenged a loss earlier in the season to Tampa Bay winning 44-41 and creating a tie atop the South Division.

The Force (5-4) got three touchdowns from Larry Shipp (two receiving, one rushing) and two interceptions on defense in the winning effort.

"We've been up and down on offense, so it was nice to build upon last week's win," said Force head coach Dean Cokinos.

Tampa Bay (5-4) got on the board on the game's opening possession when Prechae Rodriguez held his focus after a Stephen Wasil pass went off the netting, catching it for the game's first score.

However, Georgia didn't let that lead last long as Mykell Benson took the ball in from three yards out to tie the game with 6:08 to go in the first quarter.

"The Arena game is all about scoring," Cokinos said. "A game can get away from you early, so it was nice that we were able to answer their opening score."

A mistake by Wasil was capitalized on by Georgia's Jeremy Greer as a pass went right to him, giving the Force the ball on the Tampa Bay 7-yard line. But, the Force weren't able to get it into the end zone as they had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Carlos Martinez to take a 10-7 lead, one they would not relinquish the rest of the game.

After a missed field goal by Tampa Bay, Georgia again went on the offensive as Kevin Eakin found Jake Allen for a 13-yard score, putting Georgia up 17-7.

Tampa Bay (5-4) responded on its next possession when Wasil found Rodriguez for another touchdown to bring the Storm back to within three points.

Georgia added one more score before halftime when Eakin found Shipp (six receptions, 65 yards) wide open for 27 yards and a touchdown with 1:44 to go before halftime.

In the second half, Georgia extended its lead with a 31-yard field goal by Martinez, going up 27-14.

The Storm responded to keep the game close on a 19-yard touchdown reception by Amarri Jackson, but the extra point was missed, leaving the score at 27-20.

But again, the Force responded, taking nine plays before a reverse by Shipp scored from one-yard out to give the Force an even wider margin.

Shipp added another touchdown reception late in the fourth as Tampa Bay scored twice to try and make a comeback.

However, two onsides kick failed, including with 40 seconds to go in the game, allowing Georgia to run out the clock and get the win.

Eakin finished the game with 19 completions for 178 yards and three touchdowns, while Jake Allen had nine receptions for 71 yards.

"We did this as a team," Eakin said. "Our offense made the plays when they had to and our defense stepped up really nice."

Georgia will be back in action next week at the Milwaukee Mustangs.

"We're back on top of the division and that's huge," Cokinos said. "Two wins in a row is nice, but three would be better."