No Shock in Spokane for San Jose

Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats
Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats

By Emily Zahner

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON—The San Jose SaberCats (7-3), riding a four game winning streak, took on the Spokane Shock (5-5) tonight at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington. Riding in with confidence and less impactful injuries, the Cats took the win 49-34. With the added offensive power of Reggie Gray, who returned from injury tonight, the Cats made easy work of Spokane. With the loss of their MVP quarterback Erik Meyer, the Shock have been putting up low numbers lately, and tonight was no exception. However, coming into the game tonight, San Jose didn’t come in with any low expectations. The Shock hold the edge over the season series between the two teams, leading 5-3.

The first half was all Cats. The first period saw the Cats go up 14-6, followed by an equally offensive second, ending with San Jose up 28-13. San Jose didn’t let up until the final whistle. Scoring 14 points in each of the first three quarters, San Jose gave themselves a lead that would give them the victory. Spokane was equally as consistent, but on the opposing side of the score sheet; scoring 6, 7, and 7 in each of the first three periods. The Shock made it interesting in the fourth, outscoring the Cats 14-7.

Spokane seemed out of sorts without the leadership of QB Erik Meyer. Brian Zbydniewski completed 24 of 42 passing attempts, good for 303 yards and two touchdowns, and two sacks. Meanwhile, Russ Michna performed on the other end of the scoring spectrum. Michna completed 17 of 29 passes, good for 4 touchdowns and 218 yards.

In his return to the lineup, Reggie Gray received 8 passes good for 83 yards, completing one touchdown. The next best on the team was Jason Willis, with two received passes and 40 yards and a touchdown. San Jose has now won five games in a row, improving to a 7-3 record.

The Cats have a bit of a break before heading down to Arizona to take on the always impressive Arizona Rattlers on May 31st at 6:30pm.

SaberCats get Shocked By Spokane, Lose 73-62

Photo Courtesy San Jose SaberCats
Photo Courtesy San Jose SaberCats

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.

SaberCats Come Close But Fall To Power 48-47

Photo Courtesy SJ Sabercats
Photo Courtesy SJ Sabercats

By Kahlil Najar and Emily Zahner

PITTSBURGH –The San Jose SaberCats (2-1) were unable to complete a two point conversion with under three seconds left in the game to lose a tight game 48-47 to the Pittsburgh Power (1-1). Outstanding rookie quarterback Nathan Stanley was able to pull the Cats within the last minute of play as he was able to connect on two touchdowns to Reggie Gray who continued to prove that he deserves the nickname Big Play.

The SaberCats played catch up the entire game. The Power started off with three straight touchdowns from Power QB Tommy Grady which included two passing touchdowns to Prechae Rodriguez and a rushing touchdown of his own to give the power a 21-0 lead after one quarter of play. The Cats were able to get on the board in the second quarter on a five yard pass from Stanley to Huey Whittaker to give the Cats their first points of the game but the Grady found Rodriguez again for two more scores to give Rodriguez four touchdowns in the first half and make it a 35-7 lead for the power. Before the half ended JJ Payne contributed a rushing touchdown and David Hyland made a recovery off the net on the kickoff and dove three yards into the end zone for a touchdown which brought the score to 35-20 at the half.

In the second half, the Cats and Power traded a pair of touchdowns and after the Powers last score Stanley moved the offense down the field where he found Gray from eight yards out in the end zone and brought the game to a seven point deficit. Then on an onside kickoff attempt Marc Scheichl recovered the ball for San Jose and gave the Cats the ball back with 45 seconds left on the clock. Stanley brought the team down again and found Gray for an amazing one-handed over-the-wall touchdown with three seconds left in the game. After the touchdown, the Cats decided to go for the win instead of playing for overtime and Stanley was unable to connect with Willis and brought the score to the final of 48-47.

Stanley had a good game overall as he threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns however his three interceptions proved extremely costly in his first loss of his professional career. Reggie Gray continued to show his magic on the field and he contributed two touchdowns and 126 yards receiving. Huey Whittaker only had 19 yards receiving however those yards netted him three touchdowns on the night.

The SaberCats head home for a game this coming Friday against the Spokane Shock at the SAP Center at 7:30pm PST.



Sabercats Spoil Thunder’s Franchise Debut 64 -34

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By Kahlil Najar

Portland, Oregon – The San Jose SaberCats (1-0) manhandled the Portland Thunder (0-1) in front of the Thunders first ever home game at the Moda Center and beat them 64-34. The SaberCats offense was powered by Reggie Gray who had an impressive offensive showing as he went for 102 yards and 4 touchdowns on only six catches. SaberCats quarterback Russ Michna went 12 for 16 for 166 yards and five touchdowns and left the game at halftime after he gave the SaberCats a 37-27 lead. Nathan Stanley finished the game at quarterback for San Jose and went eight for 14 for 89 yards with three touchdowns.

Portland started the game strong as they were able to score on their first ever possession when University of Oregon alumni Darron Thomas found his way into the end zone and gave Portland the 7-0 lead. However the SaberCats were able to answer back when Michna found Gray for a 16-yard strike and tie the game up at seven. Then after a defensive stop by the SaberCats, Michna found Rod Harper for an 11-yard reception and gave the SaberCats a 13-7 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second quarter, Michna connected for three touchdowns including two to Gray and one to Jason Willis. Michna also found his second favorite target of the game Harper four times in the second quarter. Harper ended the game with 105  yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns. Portland also scored three times in the quarter including their first ever pass touchdown on a nice play from quarterback Nathan Enderle who found Jeffre Solomon for a 32-yard score but ended with a missed extra point and bring the score to 37-27 at halftime.

After halftime the SaberCats put in Nathan Stanley for last two quarters of the game and he continued the SaberCats dominance as he found Willis, Gray and Harper for scores and didn’t give up an interception. The SaberCats defense also stood strong in the second half as they didn’t allow a single point in the third quarter and only one touchdown in the fourth. Huey Whittaker contributed on defense with nine tackles on defense and veteran Ken Fontenette contributed with six of his own.

“I thought my guys played hard, they came out and did what they had to do,” said Head Coach Darren Arbet. “They took care of business. I liked the way they played.”

The SaberCats are back on the field on March 29 in San Jose when the host the Philadelphia Soul (0-1) at 5:00 pm.