Tampa Bay Thunder determined to finish strong

by Gio Alvarez

Written by: Jackson Shewey

With only two games left in the season, the Tampa Bay Thunder look to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. Coming off a three-game losing streak, the Thunder are set to bounce back this week and finish off the regular season strong going into playoffs. 

The Thunder are sitting at five wins and three losses as they take on the 6-1 Dade County Raiders at home this week. It is a crucial game for the Thunder as they look to cement themselves as competitors going into the post season.

Having one of the most dominating offensives in the league, with Quarterback Brian Water leading in yard and touchdowns, it will be up to them to take this team to the victories they expect. 

When asked on the how the offense can improve this late in the season, head coach Bob Henriquez states, 

“This team needs to have more consistent and aggressive offensive line play; the blocking is an issue. When you have your quarterbacks literally running for their lives on passing plays, it is not the scheme or play calling that needs to improve, it is the blocking up front.” 

For the Thunder, turnovers have also been a huge issue this season, a-long with finishing drives in the redzone. However, Henriquez believes this team has a great amount of potential going into the late season and post season.

 “Yes, these past three weeks we have been in a bit of a slump, but I feel that this team is more of that 5-0 team than the 0-3 team and the players need to believe that. At this point we are in very good position for the playoffs. Our goal is to win out and hopefully secure that first round bye or home game and then get on a run. Once you get in the post season its 0-0 so anything can happen,” Henriquez states. 

In comparison to the offensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Cody Endris feels this team has grown drastically throughout these past three weeks.

“We have really been coming together as a team, with guys that might not have been good with communication. Now we are getting them in film sessions and sideline talks, stuff to really boost them as a team and build that family aspect and that’s what I like to see as a defensive coordinator.”

Being such a new team in this league, the Thunder have come in exceptionally thus far and although the past few weeks have not played to their advantage, they look to change the pace and do some damage going into the post season.

Photographer: Michael Hogan

Photo editor: Giorgio Alvarez