Preview: Tampa Bay Thunder to Host Dunedin Pirates

by Joshua Katz

Following their second Bye Week of the 2022 season, the undefeated Tampa Bay Thunder will host the Dunedin Pirates for their final matchup with each other during regular season on February 26th. The Pirates will be looking to avenge their 47-10 loss during their first meeting with Tampa Bay, but let’s take a look at what the Thunder will have to do to hold them off yet again.

Recap

 In their 37-point victory over their local rival, the Thunder offense was led by the Football Federation Alliance’s Week One Player of the Week, Quarterback Brian Waiters. Waiters completed 14-25 of his passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 50 yards and two touchdown on seven carries.

“We have to execute on every possession for Four Quarters straight. There is no letting up,” said Quarterback Brian Waiters.

The Thunder defense was an unstoppable force and had Dunedin Quarterback, Nate Munson, struggling with his presence while standing in the Pocket. Tampa Bay’s defense held Munson to just five pass completions on 12 attempts and just one touchdown. On 17 carries (crazy, right?), the Thunder capped his rushing yards at a mere 26 (1.5 yards/rush). Defensive End, Dakota Shelhamer recorded two sacks on Munson. Linebacker Demetrius Barry led the team with five tackles.

What’s Coming This Week?

 On the Defensive Line, the Thunder recently added Defensive Lineman, Derrick Callaway, who tried out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just a few years ago. Callaway is going to provide a great amount of help when it comes to stopping the Pirates’ run game. With fellow Defensive Lineman Alphonso Spears briefly out due to injury, Callaway could potentially see many snaps in the February 26th matchup.

The Thunder’s Wide Receivers will look forward to doing what they have been doing quite well— catching a lot of balls. Waiters’ 341 passing yards was not a lone act. He clearly had the help from the best Wide Receiver Room in the FFA. They will look to replicate their explosive performance.

“The best thing about our guys is that they’re [Wide Receivers] extremely talented and have a great football IQ. Now, with that being said, to help replicate their performance from the first time we played Dunedin, they have to continue to extend plays and block down field if a play does break down,” said Wide Receiver Coach Patrick Maneti.

The 3-0 Thunder, who are now ranked first in the league, will be looking to get their fourth win of the season and hold the Pirates winless in their two-game series.

Be sure to make your way to Sickles High School for the 5PM game this Saturday.

As always, Thunder Fans— Slam the Hammer!