By Emily Zahner
PORTLAND, OREGON-The San Jose SaberCats (3-3) look to get back to winning ways tonight and end their three game losing streak as they face the equally struggling Portland Thunder (0-5). This is the second match up between the two this year, with the Cats taking the first win easily 64-34. Portland has yet to find its first win, on the season and of team history. San Jose squeaked out a win, 38-32, handing the Thunder their fifth consecutive loss. The Thunder made it interesting though, battling until the end and looking nothing like a team who hasn’t won a game this season.
The Thunder struggled early, with three straight turnovers that looked to dictate the game; however minutes later, Portland opened the scoring after capitalizing on a San Jose fumble, fueling their energy and giving them momentum. Multiple turnovers and miscues provided to an ugly period, which ended 7-0 with Portland on top. The Cats were unable to find the score sheet, but got on the board early in the second to cut the deficit to 10-3. Every loose ball seemed to find the Thunder, but the Cats remained persistent and ended the half down 19-14.
San Jose came out on fire in the second half. Nathan Stanley came in briefly to relieve Russ Michna, and completed his first possession for a touchdown to Doug Williams. Coming back into the game, Michna took matters into his own hands and ran it himself for a touchdown to give the Cats their first lead of the game. Michna’s TD took the game into the fourth with a tight score of 31-25.
Portland answered in a hurry, giving themselves an early one point lead in the fourth. After trading scores, San Jose went up 38-32 with just under five minutes to go in the game. Portland pressed hard at the end of the fourth, looking as though they would tie the game, but an incomplete attempt on fourth down lead to the final turnover of the game and a SaberCats victory. With the win, San Jose has snapped their 3-game losing streak to improve to an even record of 3-3 on the season.
Russ Michna threw 12 for 29 with 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. In his brief appearance, Nathan Stanley went 1 for 1 with 22 yards and one touchdown. Newcomer Doug Williams had 108 receiving yards for two touchdowns. When asked about his first game as a SaberCat, Williams responded “I’m just happy we got the win. I had to be patient, wait my time to get here.” On his chemistry with Michna throughout the game, the wide receiver praised his QB, “he always has a great touch on the ball. It’s easy to catch a ball from Russ”
San Jose heads to LA next weekend to take on the LA Kiss on Saturday April 26th at 7pm. The Kiss are currently second in the National Conference with a 2-2 record, sitting behind the reigning champions, Arizona Rattlers.