By Kahlil Najar
SAN JOSE – The San Jose SaberCats (2-2) were defeated by reigning AFL MVP Erik Meyer and the Spokane Shock (2-1), 73-62. Meyer had an impressive night as he ran for four touchdowns and threw for over 250 yards. Russ Michna got the start after being out for the last two games had a great game himself. He threw for 352 yard and eight touchdowns. Unfortunately he also threw three interceptions that resulted in 14 points for Spokane. All Star candidate Reggie Gray caught eight passes for 75 yards and five touchdowns.
“We’re going to have to watch the tape and practice. More practice is going to fix it,” said Head Coach Darren Arbet on the loss tonight. “We have to regroup, practice and believe in each other and continue to play hard.”
Speaking on Spokane, Arbet said, “The way we played tonight it’d be tough to beat anyone in this league. Spokane is a good football team. It’s a long season we just have to practice and get better.”
On his return to the field Michna said, “It felt good to be back on the field but it was an ugly night though. A lot of things happened that don’t happen to us often. We just have to get better. I was disappointed with my performance but we turned the ball over four times and I had three interceptions. I can’t name the last time I threw the ball to the other team that many times.”
Spokane got on the board with less than 30 seconds gone in the first when Meyer found a streaking Mike Washington on a nice 19-yard pass. The SaberCats hopped on the field and went for a deep pass to start the game but Michna over threw the speedy Rod Harper. The five plays later Michna threw a pass down the middle of the field that was tipped in the air by the Shocks Terence Moore who was able to grab the ball and give it back to Spokane. The Shock then worked five minutes off the clock and found Terrance Carter on a 15 yard strike to give the Shock a 14-0 lead with a little over seven minutes left in the first. On the SaberCats next possession, Michna found Reggie Gray from 15-yards out for the SaberCats first score of the night.
The second quarter felt like an old west shoot out. There was a total of 63 points scored including three rushing touchdowns by Meyer for Spokane and a pair of touchdowns to both Gray and Rod Harper on the SaberCats. The Cats seemed to have the momentum going into their favor as one of Gray’s touchdowns happened with only 17 seconds left in the half but then Terrance Sanders ran the ball back off of Nick Pertuit’s kickoff and gave the Shock a 49-35 lead.
San Jose had the ball to start the third but then when Michna was working in the pocket he was hit and was picked off again by Moore to turn the ball back over to Spokane. Fortunately for the Cats, they were able to hold Spokane to zero point off the turnover as SPokane kick Taylor Rowan hit the bar and turned the ball back to San Jose. After getting the ball back, Michna found Gray again for his fourth touchdown of the night and brought the lead to a manageable seven point deficit. However Meyer was able to find Washington for a deep 41-yard bomb to make it 56-42 game after three quarters.
Michna tossed his third interception of the game on his first pass of the quarter and gave the ball back to Spokane. Again Meyer was able to take the ball into the end zone himself and made it a 63-42 game. Michna found Gray yet again for his fifth touchdown and 14th touchdown of the season to bring it back down to a 14 point lead for Spokane. Spokane drove down the field again and settled for a field goal but by this time it already seemed like the wind was knocked out of the SaberCats. They were able to get a pair of touchdowns from J.J. Payne and Huey Whittaker but the SaberCats still fell by 11 points with a final score of 73-62.
The Cats will stay home this week and practice as coach continued to say and will face the Arizona Rattlers next Saturday at 7:30 pm.