Sabercats End Remarkable Season With Arena Bowl Victory

By: Joe Lami

The San Jose Sabercats wrapped up their dream season on Saturday night with a 68-47 victory over the Jacksonville Sharks to capture Arena Bowl XXVIII.  It marks their fourth arena bowl championship, and their first since 2007.

The championship game was played at Stockton Arena in place of the Sabercats’ usual home of SAP Center at San Jose due to an event conflict. Stockton is also the birthplace of Sabercats’ head coach, Daren Arbet, making this championship even more special. “To bring it back here is extra special. I will never forget this day for the rest of my life.  It means everything to win here and to bring it back here is huge,” added the coach.

San Jose started the game slow and finished the first quarter trailing the Sharks 14-6. The catch of the night finished with Jacksonville’s second touchdown of the night.  Tommy Grady threw to the side of the end zone towards Anthony Jones who was able to bring it in before going over the boards while maintaining possession of the ball to complete the touchdown.

The Sabercats also trailed going into the half after Joe Hills gave the Sharks the 33-27 lead with just 15 seconds remaining.  Hills had a monster night in the loss, as he caught nine passes for 133 yards and four touchdowns.

The third quarter was when San Jose finally broke the game wide open, as their defense led the charge contributing in three turnovers that led to 28 points.  The bombardment started when David Hyland picked off a Grady pass and returned it ten yards for the score.  On the next drive, Cleveland Thomas recovered a Xavier Brewer fumble.  Sabercats quarterback, Erik Meyer, used the turnover to his advantage and found Dairu Reyonalds for the touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff the ball hit the left upright and create a live ball. After a mad scramble for it, Ken Fontenette recovered the ball for the Sabercats’ touchdown for the 55-33 lead and eventually iced the championship for San Jose.

The fourth quarter ended up being a blur, as Sabercat fans were counting down the minutes left in the season.  The final score was 68-47, as the Sharks push wasn’t good enough to make the comeback.

Meyer finished the night 17 of 29 for 204 yards and four touchdowns.  Erik also took off on the ground as he kept the ball three times for 26 yards and two scores. Arbet commented on Meyer’s ground game, “That’s something that when we got Erik, we knew he could do it. We didn’t want him to do it, but this one was for all the marbles and we told him hey if you need to take off, take off and get it”.

With the victory, San Jose finishes the season with a 20-1 record, the best record in league history. “Not only did this team break the league record, but they way they did it. The margin of victory. An average of 22 points, that’s just amazing,” added a smiling Arbet. Cornerback, Thomas added “you have so many great guys that put their personal accolades aside for the better of the team”. Grey also commented, “100% the best team I’ve ever been on.”

It also marks the fourth time Arbet has coached his way to an AFL Championship. The two-time coach of the year is expected to make it three after this outstanding season.  His players had nothing but nice words for their coach. Thomas said, “he’s everything man”. Grey praised the hall of fame coach, “that’s coach of the year there. Everybody in that locker room knows he’s coach of the year. He pushed us and this was our outcome. This is where he was from and it meant something for us to win this one in his home town”.

SaberCats Dominate Thunder, Advance To National Conference Championships.

By Shawn Whelchel

SAN JOSE, Calif. The San Jose SaberCats steamrolled the Portland Thunder during opening round of the 2015 AFL playoffs on Friday, cruising their way to a 55-28 at SAP Center.

The SaberCats, who have dominated the Thunder in four consecutive matches this season, jumped out to an early lead while riding the back of dominate defensive effort that forced a pair of interceptions, a fumble and numerous turnovers on downs to reach the National Conference Championship at the SMG Stockton Arena.

Leading the way for the SaberCats were Ken Fontenette, who had an interception and forced fumble while totaling a team high 9 tackles, and Reggie Gray on offense, who had two touchdowns on four receptions while adding a 57 yard kickoff return to his stat-line as well.

The SaberCats will now face either the Spokane Shock or the Arizona Rattlers in the Conference Championship game, which will be determined on Saturday.

The SaberCats’ league leading defense was on full display during the opening half of the game, forcing four turnovers while allowing Portland to post just seven points over the first two quarters. Things got underway for San Jose during the opening drive by Portland, as Ken Fontenette showed the value of hustle by punching out the ball from behind after initially overrunning his man, forcing a fumble to be recovered by San Jose. After extending the drive with a fourth-and-long reception earlier, Maurice Purify would finish what he started with a 3-yard touchdown reception to put San Jose on the board first with a 7-0 lead.

The first quarter would remain devoid of action after a goal line stand by the SaberCats and a painfully long, eight minute drive by San Jose that ended in a turnover on downs. But Portland wouldn’t waste time on their third drive of the game, as QB Kyle Rowley tied the game up with a 33-yard bomb to Jamar Howard after he broke free of the SaberCats secondary.

San Jose would respond with a pair of scores, however. The first of the two highlighted receiver Ben Nelson’s athleticism, as the receiver had to make a mid-air adjustment with his body to snag the ball in the corner of the end zone. The SaberCats defense would set up the next score as David Hyland would make a leaping snag of Rowley’s pass over the middle to haul in the interception. Shortly after, Reggie Gray made the turnover hurt as he was lofted a pass across the end zone to make it a 21-7 lead.

San Jose would close out the half with one more touchdown after forcing a turnover on downs with 39 seconds left. Meyers and the offense worked efficiently down the field before yet another sprawling catch by Gray in the end zone would land his team a 28-7 lead heading into the locker room.

The SaberCats opened the second half much like they closed out the first, by finding their way into the end zone. Meyers used a steady helping of Purify and Nelson before the latter would bounce his way off defenders into the end zone for a 35-7 lead.

Unable to break the SaberCats defense, the Thunder instead attacked their special teams, as WR Duane Brooks broke free of the pack for a 54 yard touchdown return, closing the margin to 35-14.

The SaberCats clean play was marred in the third quarter after OL Rich Ranglin fumbled the ball after being cut from behind on a dump-off from Meyers. San Jose was on the cusp of recovering and mounting their third goal line stand of the game, before Rowley threw a perfect back shoulder fade to Howard for their second consecutive touchdown of the game.

But Big Play Reggie Gray would shore up any attempts of a comeback from Portland by taking a kick return of his own to the house, sprinting through the pile for a 57 yard touchdown to make it a 41-21 game.

After spreading the offense to many of his teammates throughout the game, Meyers decided to get in on the action himself on the SaberCats next score, scrambling to the left to find a wide open field before taking off to the end zone for a 9 yard touchdown and a 27 point lead.

The Thunder would return to score one final touchdown in garbage time, but would come up far short as a 55-28 final would sink their playoff hopes.


Game Notes:

With David Hyland’s interception in the first quarter, the DB has now had three straight games with a pickoff.

SAP Center will be unavailable for next week’s Conference Championship, which is why the game will be hosted at the SMG Stockton Arena. However, the SaberCats will be providing a free shuttle bus to the Stockton Arena from Fry’s Home Office at 550 E Brokaw Rd. San Jose, CA, 95112 prior to the game.

Tickets to the game will be made available to the public on Ticketmaster on Monday, August 17th at noon.

Sabercats blow out KISS in regular season finale

By: Eric He

Wrapping up a near-flawless regular season campaign, the San Jose Sabercats defeated the LA KISS 60-38 on the road on Saturday afternoon to finish with a 17-1 record.

That one loss came at the hands of the KISS back in Week 12, but this time, there was no doubt which team was superior.

Wide receiver Maurice Purify finished with six total touchdowns on the night — three rushing and three via the air. He notched the first score of the evening on a four-yard run, and was just getting started.

After the KISS responded to tie the game 7-7, Purify recorded four more touchdowns before halftime, single-handedly providing the Sabercats’ offense.

San Jose led 44-31 at the break, and controlled the second half, limiting the KISS to just one score while putting 23 more points on the board.

Starter Erik Meyer received some time off from the second quarter on, with the Sabercats having clinched the top record in the league and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

His backup, Nathan Stanley, threw for 175 yards and completing 13-of-24 pass attempts, two of them for touchdown.

With the regular season in the books, the Sabercats can now turn their attention to the playoffs, where they will look to cap off this dominant campaign with an AFL title.

SaberCats Trample Rival Rattlers 56-29, Secure Home Field Advantage.


By Shawn Whelchel

SAN JOSE, Ca.-The San Jose SaberCats made a statement against the conference rival Arizona Rattlers on Friday night, crushing their nemesis by a score of 56-29 to secure home field advantage in both the opening and conference rounds of the playoffs.

After what started out as a back and forth game through the first two quarters, The SaberCats used a massive second half explosion of both offense and defense to put the nail in the coffin of the Rattlers.

A familiar friend would turn enemy for Arizona, as former Rattlers receiver Maurice Purify helped to demolish his old team with a 108-yard night that ended with three touchdowns. Reggie Gray followed his new teammate’s performance up with three touchdowns of his own on 88 yards receiving.

The fierce divisional rivalry got underway in dull fashion Friday night as both teams went four-and-out to open the game in a lackluster manner. However, both teams quickly cleared off the rust and were off to the races from there on out. Arizona struck first, concocting an efficient 6-play, 45 yard drive before Mykel Benson plunged into the end zone for his 16th rushing touchdown of the season.

The SaberCats would respond with an efficient drive of their own, using eight plays before the team’s touchdown leader, Reggie Gray, would add on to his franchise record with yet another touchdown to even things up at seven a piece. Things got shaky for the SaberCats after that, as Arizona quarterback Nick Davila would find his go-to receiver, Rod Windsor, wide open in the end zone to put his team ahead.

After yet another defensive stop by Arizona left his team with good field position, Davila would widen his lead margin using just one play, a 20 yard bomb to receiver Kerry Reed to put his team up 20-7 after a missed PAT.

But the SaberCats refused to let things get out of hand, as QB Erik Meyers slowed the bleeding by responding with a solid drive of his own that ended with former Arizona star Maurice Purify hurting his old team with his first touchdown of the night to pull to within six. The league’s leading defense helped their own cause on the following drive as well, as an aborted snap by the Rattlers lead to San Jose reclaiming the ball.

The SaberCats would make good on their opportunity as a heavy dose of Reggie Gray moved them downfield before FB Odie Armstrong would rumble ten yard out of the backfield for a touchdown. After missing the PAT, the game was tied at 20.

The next drive ended in unusual fashion for both teams involved, as the Rattlers retook the lead on another Windsor touchdown after an ill-advised onside kick try from San Jose gave them the short field. However, the SaberCats special teams made yet another stand on the PAT, this time blocking the ball before Rodney Fritz returned it the length of the field to give San Jose two points of their own, making it a 22-26 ball game.

With under a minute left, the SaberCats mounted one last drive, as Meyers connected with three different receivers before Purify would outmuscle his defender in the end zone to make a leaping grab for his second touchdown of the game, giving the SaberCats a 29-26 advantage heading into halftime.

The Rattlers reclaimed the ball on the opening kickoff after a fortuitous bounce of the goal post shot the ball out to the 20-yard line and into the hands of Arizona for a turnover on the kickoff. Arizona wasn’t able to find the end zone, but Fabrizio Scaccio used his leg to tie the game up at 29 with a 27-yard field goal.

Gray would put the SaberCats ahead after a nice double move in space opened him up in the back of the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, putting his team up six after another rare Nick Pertuit miss.

The SaberCats would follow up with a pair of highlights on both sides of the ball, as DB David Hyland would make a spectacular leaping pick of a Davila pass to give way to Purify on offense, who would take the ball 34 yards down the field after spinning off a defender for his third touchdown of the night. San Jose would enjoy a commanding 42-29 lead after the spectacles.

San Jose’s defense would return with a vengeance on the next drive as well, forcing three hurries and gathering a sack to force a turnover on downs that would give the SaberCats a first and goal. After a series of setbacks, it would be Gray who would again make good on the scoring opportunity as he tallied his third touchdown of the game for a 49-29 lead for San Jose.

The SaberCats continued to add clips to their highlight reel after D.J Stephens made a dime-stop to slip under a defender before sneaking into the end zone to expand the lead to 56-29 in the fourth quarter, effectively nailing the coffin in their rival’s comeback plans.



Game Notes:

Reggie Gray broke the SaberCats’ single-season receiving-yards record with a 12 yard catch in the second quarter of Friday night’s game.

With the win, the SaberCats secured home field advantage for both the opening and conference rounds of the playoffs.

David Hyland’s interception would add on to their league leading tally, now leaving them with 31 on the season.

SaberCats Shrug Off Slow Start, Beat Portland In Overtime.

By Shawn Whelchel


Riding the back of a historic night by receiver Reggie Gray, the San Jose SaberCats erased a sloppy start to come from behind and beat the Portland Thunder 55-49 in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday night.

Gray, who broke both the single-season franchise records for most receptions and receiving touchdowns, finished the night with 14 receptions for 130 yards and four touchdowns.

The outburst by Gray helped lead a come from behind effort that saw the SaberCats down as much as 20 points in the opening quarter amidst ugly play.

The San Jose SaberCats hardly looked like the AFL’s league leading team during the opening half of Saturday night’s contest, making mistakes on both offense and defense that allowed the Thunder to take a commanding 34-21 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

Things got off to a rough start for San Jose after allowing two quick scores to the visiting team to open the first quarter. After striking on their opening drive, the Thunder found themselves with the ball again after forcing a fumble from Darius Reynolds on the SaberCats opening offensive play of the game. Portland would get points on the turnover after using three plays to go 19 yards for their second score of the game.

Things would not get easier for San Jose on their next trip out after quarterback Erik Meyers suffered a 12 yard sack on fourth down to set up a short-field situation for the Thunder, who would again cash in on the error with a diving catch by V’Keon Lacey to shoot out to a 20-0 lead.

But the SaberCats would stabilize their sinking ship on the back of the reliable Reggie Gray, whose 25 yard touchdown catch in the opening minutes of the second half would not only get the SaberCats on the board for the first time, but would also break the franchise record for most receptions in a season. Fellow wideout Ben Nelson would follow up Gray’s touchdown with a sliding touchdown despite heavy coverage to cut the deficit to six.

Just as it appeared that San Jose would amass a quick comeback, the Thunder struck twice to break the game open again. The SaberCats squandered a solid red zone opportunity after an interception by Ken Fontenette gave them good field position for the third straight possession. However, after failing to convert a fourth and one near the goal line, the Thunder rode the momentum of their defensive stop into a 24 yard touchdown pass with under a minute to go, widening their lead to 27-14.

The ugly half wouldn’t end there for San Jose, as a 24-second, four-and-out gave Portland the ball back on the 10-yard line with time to operate. Portland would rub salt on the wound on the first play of the drive, with their second touchdown in under a minute to make it a 34-14 deficit for the SaberCats. Again it would be Gray to salvage the sinking ship for the SaberCats.

With just 20 seconds left, the speedy receiver returned a kickoff 42-yards to give San Jose a first and goal opportunity. He would finish what he started by catching his second touchdown of the game with just two seconds left to keep his team in the game, heading to the locker room with a 34-21 deficit.


San Jose came out as a reinvigorated team to open the second half, using their renewed spirit to grab their first lead of the game after nine minutes of play. Darius Reynolds kicked off the scoring for San Jose, using a nifty move to break free on the sideline for a 19 yard touchdown. It was then up to Fontenette to get the ball right back for San Jose after recording his second interception of the game. Gray would cap the drive off with his third touchdown of the night, this one on a fourth and goal, to take a 35-34 lead.

Gray’s next touchdown would continue his historic night, as the wide receiver not only regained the lead for his team after Portland reclaimed it on the previous possession, but also secured the speedy receiver as the SaberCats franchise leader for touchdowns in a single-season with his 41st scoring reception on the year.

A second consecutive score for San Jose, this time on a Ben Nelson touchdown, would give San Jose an eight point lead. But Portland would not go down quietly. With just over three minutes left in the game, Kyle Rowley would sling his sixth touchdown of the game.After electing to go for two points, Portland would tie things up at 49 a-piece after completing the conversion.

San Jose received the ball with time to mount a final scoring drive, but questionable calls derailed their plans. On consecutive plays, receptions by Nelson and Gray were ruled incomplete, although it appeared the receivers could have held on for what would have been touchdowns. After a field goal attempt from 12 yards out was blocked by Portland, the game was sent to overtime.

The SaberCats used an efficient six play drive to go 48 yards for a touchdown to open up extra time, but failed to convert the PAT to lead by just six. Portland amassed a threatening drive, reaching the four yard line with plenty of time left, but Rowley launched a fourth-and-one pass high into the net to end the game in dramatic fashion for San Jose.


Game Notes:

Gray’s 14 receptions and four touchdowns gives him a single season total of 147 receptions and 41 touchdowns, both franchise records for the SaberCats.

The San Jose SaberCats announced today that they have partnered with ReplyBuy to create SaberCats Mobile Fast Pass, bringing fans an easier way to instantly purchase game tickets. Mobile Fast Pass enables SaberCats’ fans to purchase tickets with a simple text message. Upon purchasing a ticket via text, a mobile e-ticket will be sent instantly, the faster a reply, the better the seats. By texting SABERCATS to 20123, fans will receive an initial $10 credit just for signing up.
The San Jose SaberCats announced today that they will have a live stream Internet broadcast for the remaining home games this season on SaberCats TV. SaberCats TV will launch on beginning with the game Saturday, July 18th against the Portland Thunder at 7:30PM PDT.

Sabercats lose first game of season in overtime stunner to KISS

By: Eric He

SAN JOSE — In a game featuring two teams speeding in opposite directions – one toward an undefeated season and the other toward the worst record in the AFL – the latter pulled off a major upset, as the Los Angeles KISS handed the San Jose Sabercats their first loss of the season on Saturday night at SAP Center with a 48-42 overtime win.

The KISS (2-9) forced a turnover on downs on the Sabercats’ (11-1) first possession of overtime, and won it with a 16-yard touchdown catch by Demarco Sampson, who just kept his toe inbounds to pull off the victory for Los Angeles.

It was just the KISS’ second win of the season and the Sabercats’ first defeat.

“They played a great game and they made every play possible,” said defensive back Clevan Thomas. “A game like that we have to find a way to win.”

Down 42-35 in the dying seconds, the Sabercats tied the game as time expired with a four-yard touchdown catch by Reggie Gray, and the extra point by Nick Pertuit sent the game to overtime.

The KISS took their first lead of the game early in the fourth on a pick-six by Rayshaun Kizer, who intercepted a pass by Erik Meyer at the Sabercats 19-yard line and returned it untouched for the score to put the KISS up 35-28.

The Sabercats answered with a quick three-play drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Jeremy Keller with five minutes remaining, only to have the KISS come right back with a three-play drive of their own capped off by a 29-yard score by Donovan Morgan to give the KISS a 42-35 advantage.

Los Angeles hung around in the first half, and, after a stellar third quarter in which they held the Sabercats scoreless and, tied the score at 28-28 with 1:18 to play in the frame on an eight-yard reception by Morgan.

The Sabercats were held to just two touchdowns in the second half as the offense that led the league in points per game heading into the game was unrecognizable. Meyer, who finished with 312 yards on 20-of-42 passing and five touchdowns, was sacked five times and the team committed five turnovers a whole. To add insult to injury, he left the game in overtime after taking a big hit.

“We didn’t get it done offensively,” said head coach Darren Arbet. “I’m sure the guys understand that. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to practice and get better.”

Added wide receiver Jeremy Kelley, who recorded 126 yards on six catches and a touchdown, “We’re going to bounce back from this. I don’t think we capitalized on every opportunity.”

It was a one-score game at halftime, much tighter than expected despite the Sabercats recording nearly double the amount of total yards (220 vs. 116). After the KISS tied the game at 7-7, Gray scored touchdowns on consecutive drives – the first a tough catch along the boards of the right corner of the end zone, and the second a wide-open 18-yard reception. With his second score, Gray recorded his 200th career touchdown reception.

The two teams traded touchdowns before Laron Scott delivered a 50-yard kickoff return for a score that cut the Sabercats lead to 28-21 at halftime.

The Sabercats scored first less than five minutes into the game on their opening drive. It was a 31-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to D.J. Stephens, streaking down the left side of the field to put San Jose up 7-0 early.

Both defenses held up for the remainder of the quarter – with a little luck from the left goalpost as it rejected Pertuit’s 20-yard field goal attempt – and the KISS were able to tally to start the second and tie the game on a three-yard touchdown completion from Southwick to Austin Franklin.

With the loss, the Sabercats fell just short of setting a franchise-record for consecutive wins to start a season, but to them, it’s no big deal.

Said Thomas: “It’s disappointing but the main thing when we talk about what we want is winning a championship.”

When asked to follow-up on whether this team, like 2002 squad that also fell short of a 12-0 record, could win it all, he responded, “Of course. Without a shadow of a doubt.”


Coming into Saturday, the Sabercats ranked first in the league in offense (60.6 PPG) and defense (36.8 PPG). … San Jose defeated Los Angeles in Week 2 by the score of 54-28. … The KISS have now won two straight games losing 15 in a row . … At halftime, the Sabercats paid tribute to Omarr Smith, a longtime player and current Assistant Head Coach.

SaberCats Claw Back Against Gladiators in Meyer’s Return Under Center

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

SAN JOSE, Calif. – It was the tale of two kitties, or rather Cats, Saturday night at the SAP Center, where the San Jose SaberCats rallied from a dismal first quarter to top the Cleveland Gladiators 70-58.

The Cats trailed 52-42 after the first half, allowing Cleveland to score on every first-half drive, before clamping down defensively in the second half.

From there the SaberCats (9-0) only surrendered one score, a touchdown in the waning seconds of regulation, while putting up 28 second-half points to remain undefeated in 2015.

“They’re a good football team,” said SaberCats owner and head coach Darren Arbet of the Gladiators. “They came out with a lot of energy. I’m proud of my guys, they stayed the course. They never got fluster, they never got rattled. They just continued to play football.”

The man known as “Big Play” Reggie Gray had plenty of them Saturday. The SaberCats receiver put up the highest total in receiving yards by a San Jose wideout, finishing the night with 201 yards. Gray wound up in the end zone 5 times, the highest single-game total by any Cat this year.

“He’s been doing it all year,” said Arbet. “That’s why I call him ‘Big Play’. He comes up with big catches. He makes things happen. He’s tough as all outside.”

Quarterback Erik Meyer, returning from injury after missing the past two games, completed 30 of 42 passes for 406 yards. He ended the night a touchdown shy of a ten-pack.

“The first quarter, there was a little bit of nerves,” said Meyer. “I was anxious to get back on the field. I was rushing things a little. I had to shake a little rust off. I think it took about a quarter, quarter-and-a-half for me to settle down and feel good again.”

“He’s a great quarterback in this league,” said Arbet. “He’s going to go down as one of the best. He’s been MVP in this thing. Having him back and healthy is a big plus for this football team.”

Cleveland Quarterback Shane Austin threw for 7 touchdowns in the first half, with receivers Collin Taylor (4 touchdowns) and Amarri Jackson (3) splitting the scoring load. The Gladiators (5-4) wrapped up the half on a 40-yard Adrian Trevino field goal, sending San Jose to the locker room trailing for the first time all season.

San Jose kept pace, failing to score on its first drive of the game before showing why it is the top-ranked offense in the Arena Football league. The SaberCats matched the remaining drives one-for-one, with fullback Odie Armstrong rushing for the first touchdown. Gray (3) and Adron Tennell (2) caught the other five TDs of the half to keep San Jose within two possessions heading into the final half-hour of play.

“They were eager to go after us,” said Gray. “We’re undefeated so we get everybody’s best shot. The thing was at half time we heard them over their celebrating. We understand that it is four quarters. We came out in the second half and the defensive stepped up and played tremendously. Offensively we just had to score every time.”

Meyer opened the second half with a two-play drive, capping the run with a dink pass that Diondre took 17 yards to the house to pull San Jose within a field goal 52-49. The Cats defense, tops in the league averaging 34.9 points a game on the campaign, stuffed the Gladiators offense a yard-short of the first down at their the San Jose 4-yard line for the first Cleveland turnover on downs of the game 5:21 into the third.

San Jose took its first lead of the night on the ensuing drive, a six-play 46-yard march culminated in a Meyer 15-yard screen pass to Richard Ranglin for six points. Nich Pertuit hit his 8th of a perfect 10 extra point attempts for a 56-52 lead 5 ½ minutes from the end of the third. The Cats defense forced another turnover in their own end after Cleveland failed to gain the 7 yards needed on a 4th-and-goal attempt with 90 seconds left in the frame. The SaberCats didn’t score on their brief possession.

Reggie Gray capped his big night with two more touchdowns in the 4th before Cleveland found its way back on the scoreboard. San Jose smothered Cleveland into an interception by Ken Fontenette and a four-and-out on the first two fourth-quarter drives for the visitors before Collin Taylor rushed a yard for the final score of the game with just 4 ticks of the clock left.  By then, the game had already been decided.

“We started getting some pressure on the quarterback in the second half,” said Arbet. “They did a nice job. We changed up what we were doing. We were pocket collapsing (Austin). That’s a good offensive line. They were taking care of us. We started throwing moves on them and getting up the field.”

Next weekend, the SaberCats travel to Portland to take on the Thunder Saturday night. The Thunder have struggled to a 3-5 record this season

SaberCats Remain Perfect, Beat Portland 64-45

By Shawn Whelchel


The San Jose SaberCats remained undefeated on Saturday night after steadily defeating the Portland Thunder by a score of 64-45 in an entertaining and chippy match at SAP Center

The SaberCats defense came out strong to open Saturday night’s contest, disallowing the Thunder to gain any offensive momentum through their first two sequences. Linebacker Francis Maka made an early statement for the group after breaking through Portland’s line to send quarterback Kyle Rowley crashing into the pads behind the end zone for a safety during his second trip onto the turf.

On the other end of the ball, SaberCats quarterback Erik Meyer looked comfortable against a young, but talented Thunder secondary. San Jose put on an offensive spectacle for fans at SAP Center, with Meyer throwing four touchdowns of 20-yards or more in the first two quarters, including both a 35 and 43 yard bombs to the speedy D.J Stephens for a pair of highlight reel catches.

Portland wouldn’t go into the half quietly though, as flared temples jump-started what was a stagnant effort thus far. After connecting with Jared Perry for their second score of the game, the Thunder’s defense tagged Meyer’s for his first mistake of the game after throwing an interception near San Jose’s 5-yard line. After a brief scrum between both teams, Portland capitalized on the mistake with a quick touchdown to cut the score to 37-19. But San Jose would get the last laugh before heading to the locker room as Reggie Gray made good on his “Big Play” nickname by taking a 56-yard kickoff return to the house to send his team into halftime with a 44-19 lead.

Despite yet another SaberCats goal to open the second half, the Thunder managed to pull to within striking range by the end of the third quarter after a touchdown reception by V’Keon Lacey and a fumbled kickoff return by San Jose that was smothered by Portland’s Osagie Odiase for two quick scores. San Jose headed into the final frame with a 51-32 advantage.

To halt Portland’s rising momentum, San Jose opened up the fourth quarter with two quick scores of their own following Gray’s second touchdown of the game and Stephens’ third, that was setup by a Ken Fontenette interception. But again, Portland would respond with a pair of quick scores of their own following touchdowns by Perez Ashford and Lace, that was setup by yet another careless SaberCats fumble on a kickoff. But the SaberCats would not let the game slip away as they would pad their lead with yet another touchdown before relying on the defense to keep Portland off the board again before the final whistle.

The SaberCats will take their 5-0 record into their biggest challenge of the season as they head to Arizona to take on their rival Rattlers next week.


SaberCats Win Home Opener 54-28 Against KISS, Remain Undefeated.

By Shawn Whelchel


SAN JOSE-The San Jose SaberCats welcomed back fans of the sport by remaining undefeated on Saturday after steadily dispatching the Los Angeles KISS in a 54-28 blowout win at SAP Center.

For the second straight game, the SaberCats offense eclipsed the 50-point margin while keeping Los Angeles at bay with their stifling defense, handing the KISS their second loss of the season.

The SaberCats got off to a hot start on both sides of the ball on Saturday night as they were able to put 34 points on the board by the end of the first half. Full back Odie Armstrong rumbled his way into the end zone to open up the scoring for San Jose before quarterback Erik Meyer rattled off three consecutive passing touchdowns to a trio of different receivers.

San Jose’s fearsome defense picked up where their offensive counterparts left off, forcing the KISS into two-straight turnover on downs to open the game. The SaberCats defense was helped out by a number of miscues from Los Angeles’ offensive line, who continued to get flagged for penalties throughout the first quarter.

Los Angeles would clean up their play in the second, going on to score their first touchdown in the early minutes of the frame after quarterback Adrian McPherson connected with WR Donovan Morgan on a 33-yard bomb on fourth-and-long. They would score again later in the second, but not before the SaberCats secondary would make them pay with a pick-six by David Hyland near the goal line. San Jose would ride a comfortable 34-14 lead into the locker room.

The third quarter was dominated by the SaberCats, as they held Los Angeles to yet another scoreless frame while adding on to their lead with a 15-yard touchdown by David Hyland and the second defensive touchdown of the game after Virgil Gray jumped the lane on a pass by KISS quarterback Brian Zbydniewski for a 27-yard pick six.

But Los Angeles wouldn’t go quietly, as they came out gunning to open the final quarter of the game with a 42-yard bomb from Zbydniewski to Morgan to cut the score to 47-21. The two teams would trade touchdowns until time ran out, rewarding San Jose with their second straight win of the season.

The SaberCats will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Storm on April 10.

Cats Season Ends, Declawed By Rattlers 72-56

Photo Courtesy San Jose Sabercats
Photo Courtesy San Jose Sabercats

By Kahlil Najar

ARIZONA – The  San Jose SaberCats  fell to the #1 seeded Arizona Rattlers 72-56 to end their 2014 season. The Cats Quaterback Russ Michna completed 21 of 37 passes for 269 yards with six passes. All Pro Reggie Gray contributed with 9 receptions for 148 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Cats, Arizona Quarterback Nick Davila threw for eight touchdowns to four different receivers and had three receivers with at least a pair of touchdowns each.

The Rattlers started off the game strong with three touchdowns in each quarter while the Cats were only able to come up with one in the first. However they matched the three touchdowns by the Rattlers in the second quarter.

San Jose quarterback Nathan Stanley found wide receiver Reggie Gray  for a 30-yard touchdown in the first. In the second, Russ Michna replaced Stanley at Quarterback and found Gray for a quick nine-yard touchdown to make the lead only 7 points for the Rattlers. After an Arizona score, Michna found wide receiver stand out Dominique Curry for another 9-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, Arizona answered back quickly to make it a 35-21 game. Not wanting to stray from a good thing, Michna again found Gray for another touchdown and took the score to 35-28 in favor of Arizona. After a successful onside kick, Michna tossed a deep pass but was intercepted and Arizona capitalized on the mistake and scored another touchdown with 4.9 seconds left and made it a 42-28 lead at halftime.

Arizona was only able to score 16 points in the third but the Cats weren’t able to capitalitze on it and only scored 7 points in the quarter on another touchdown by Gray. Michna found Gray hooked on a nice 32-yard completion that put the game back into reach for the Cats. The Rattlers then scored a few more times and made it a deflating 58-35 game after three quarters of play. After a failed onside kick attempt, Arizona’s offense would settle for a 26-yard field goal by kicker Craig Ratanamorn to make the score 51-35.

In the fourth, Odie Armstrong barreled his way into the end zone and made it only a 16 point lead at 58-42. Again Arizona scored but then Michna found Jason Willis in the end zone and made it a 65-49 game. Arizona scored again to give them a 72-42 lead then in the waning minutes of the game Michna found Willis again and brought it to the final score of 72-56.

“There’s a reason they have been in that situation for four years in a row now,” said Michna on the Rattlers.

With the win, Arizona heads to their fourth straight Arena Bowl.