San Jose SaberCats VS. Jacksonville Sharks Preview

Apri 16, 2015 9:00 AM

Courtesy of The San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose, California – The San Jose SaberCats and Jacksonville Sharks are two teams separated by over 2,700 miles of road and while they will meet on Friday, they are both heading in opposite directions.

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The SaberCats (3-0) have cruised to victory in their first three games of the 2015 season, winning by an average margin of 17.7 points per game. On the contrary, the Sharks (0-3) have yet to win a game this season, losing all three of their games this season by a combined 13 points, including the first two games by one point each.

After a slew of acquisitions to bolster its offensive attack this off-season, Jacksonville was an early pre-season favorite in the American Conference. Despite their record, the Sharks are a formidable opponent for any team and have a chance to prove it on Friday night. The Sharks made a splash in free agency with the acquisition of the 2012 AFL MVP, quarterback Tommy Grady. As the signal caller for the Pittsburgh Power last season, Grady set a franchise record with 4,717 passing yards and 115 touchdowns.

Through three games in 2015, Grady has thrown for 845 yards and is ranked second in the league with 19 passing touchdowns.
As expected, Grady’s favorite target this season has been Anthony “Tiger” Jones. After spending the past three seasons with the Philadelphia Soul and earning First Team All-Arena Honors in 2013, Jones is leading the AFL in receiving. Jones brought his league leading receiving touchdown total to 10 on the season, after hauling in five touchdowns against his old team last week. The duo of Grady and Jones will be the biggest test thus far for the SaberCats stout defense.

Derrick Ross, the all-time AFL rushing leader, has gotten off to a hot start as well. He is the only player to have eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark (113) and is tied for second in the AFL with four rushing touchdowns. Like Jones, Ross spent the last three seasons with the Soul and was acquired in a trade with the Las Vegas Outlaws during training camp last month.

San Jose also boasts a former league MVP (2013) in quarterback Erik Meyer. Through three games, Meyer has completed an efficient 59.8-percent of his passes for 695 yards and 13 touchdowns. With the SaberCats lockdown defense providing ample field position, Meyer’s numbers do not tell the whole story.

Coming into the season, the SaberCats already possessed one of the league’s top receiver corps and added to it last week with the acquisition of D.J. Stephens. In his first game with San Jose against the Tampa Bay Storm, Stephens totaled six receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Along with Reggie Gray, Darius Reynolds and Adron Tennell, the offensive attack for San Jose has yet to peak.

Despite averaging 52.0 points per game and ranking second in total offense, Jacksonville’s offensive attack has yet to overcome their deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball. However, Joe Sykes, former AFL Defensive Player of the Year, has been a bright spot for the Sharks’ defense. Sykes, a member of the SaberCats last season, has totaled 9.5 tackles with four tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. While the San Jose offensive line has protected Meyer well this season, only surrendering four sacks, Sykes ability to rush the passer will be duly noted.

One cannot mention the SaberCats without reference to their defensive prowess. San Jose has four players with two or more sacks this season, including defensive end Luis Vasquez, who has a team-high 3.5 sacks on the season. In the secondary, the addition of Virgil Gray and Eric Crocker, as well as the return of David Hyland and Ken Fontenette, has resulted in much of the success on defense. A proven playmaker over the years, Gray has registered a team-high three interceptions and 10 pass breakups, while Fontenette leads the team with 17.5 total tackles. Enough cannot be said about the efforts of Hyland, who has recovered three fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in his first full season as the teams jack linebacker.

This will be the third meeting between the two franchises, with San Jose winning both matchups. The SaberCats defense leads the league, surrendering an average of 32.0 points per game. Look for a showdown of the Sharks prolific offense against the vaunted SaberCats defense in this week’s matchup. With their second game at home, Jacksonville will look to right the ship and get in the win column against a formidable foe. Meanwhile, San Jose has a chance to go on the road and prove that their early season success is no fluke.

ABOUT THE SAN JOSE SABERCATS
The ArenaBowl XVI, XVIII and XXI champion San Jose SaberCats finished their 19th season in the AFL with a Pacific Division Title after making their return in 2011. Fans and sponsors can go to sanjosesabercats.com or call 408-673-3400 to sign up to receive the latest news and updates about the SaberCats, as well as to purchase 2015 season tickets. Make sure to follow the SaberCats on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news on the team.

Rodrigo Lopez Scores Both Goals In Sacramento Republic FC’s 2-0 Win Over Vancouver Whitecaps 2

April 15, 10:24 PM PT

Sacramento Republic FC, fueled by Rodrigo Lopez’s brace, secure 3 points with a home victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.  The victory was in front of 10,906 faithful fans, another sold-out crowd at Bonney Field.

After a slow start to the first half for Republic FC, seeing minimal possession, the home team kicked into gear in the 16th minute. Forward David Estrada and midfielder Rodrigo Lopez had a give-and-go right outside the box. Estrada flipped the ball over the defense to Lopez who got a shot off, but it was saved by Whitecaps FC 2 keeper Spencer Richey.

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Photos by Shawn Jonas

Republic FC would find the back of the net in the 32nd minute when Lopez stole the ball in the middle of the pitch and sent a pass to Estrada out wide. Estrada drew the defense toward him and calmly slid the ball back to Lopez in the middle who sent the shot right into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

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Photo By Shawn Jonas

In the 41st minute Whitecaps FC 2 forward Victor Blasco streaked past the Republic FC defense and after a great through ball had a one-on-one opportunity against Republic FC goalkeeper Patrick McLain. Blasco got a clear shot at goal but McLain made a fantastic diving save with his right hand keeping Republic FC ahead 1-0 heading into halftime.

Republic FC keeper McLain was called into action again at the start of the second half. In the 58th minute, Whitecaps FC 2 forward Mackenzie Pridham sent a driven shot to McLain’s right that the keeper had to dive for and parry away for a corner, which he promptly snared in the air.

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Photo By Shawn Jonas 

In the 71st minute Republic FC would strike again. After solid build up play from the defense, Lopez received the ball just behind the midfield line. Lopez put his eyes on the goal and saw that Richey was playing outside of the 18-yard box and without hesitation sent a right-footed strike toward goal. Richey could not get back to his line fast enough and the shot went perfectly into the back of the net putting Republic FC up 2-0.

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“I said at halftime, the wind was blowing pretty hard and I told Justin [Braun], I’m going to see if the goalie’s cheating to see if I could catch him off his line,” Lopez said of his second half goal. “I looked up and I went for it and it went in. One of the best goals of my career, for sure.”

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Photo By Shawn Jonas

“Overall I thought the first half, we didn’t start too well, but then we picked up the tempo,” said Republic FC head coach Preki. “In the last 25 minutes we were pretty good.”

Sacramento Republic FC moves to 3-2-0 in the USL season and remains unbeaten at home. They will be back in action on Saturday April 18 when they take on Portland Timbers FC 2 at Bonney Field.

Sacramento Republic FC 2:0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
USL Match
Bonney Field – Sacramento, CA
April 15, 2015 – Attendance: 10,906

Scoring Summary: SRFC – Rodrigo Lopez (David Estrada) 32, Rodrigo Lopez 71.

Misconduct Summary: SRFC – James Kiffe (caution) 20, Mickey Daly (caution) 47; VAN – Tim Parker (caution) 19.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – Spencer Richey; Jordan Haynes, Tim Parker, Craig Nitti, Chris Serban; Mitch Piraux (Tyler Roselund 66), Ben McKendry, Victor Blasco (Jovan Blagojevic 79), Sahil Sandhu; Mackenzie Pridham (Caleb Clarke 66), Billy Schuler (Brett Levis 66).

Subs Not Used: Marco Caducci, Jackson Farmer.

Stats: Shots: 8, Shots on Goal: 5 , Saves: 7 , Fouls: 12, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 4.

Sacramento Republic FC – Patrick McLain; Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly, Derek Foran (Nemanja Vuković 45), James Kiffe; Zev Taublieb (Max Alvarez 59), Ivan Mirković, Octavio Guzman, Rodrigo Lopez (Gabe Gonzalez 74); David Estrada (Cameron Iwasa 74), Justin Braun (Adnan Gabeljic 63).

Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Joaquin Rivas.

Stats: Shots: 14, Shots on Goal: 9, Saves: 5, Fouls: 16, Corner Kicks: 4, Offside: 2.

Match Recap: Courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Veteran Wide Reciever Michael Crabtree

April 13, 2015 8:57PM PT

Photo By Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent wide receiver  Michael Crabtree, the club announced Monday.

Crabtree joins the Raiders following six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, during with he helped the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. Crabtree’s career totals include 79 games played with 77 starts, 347 receptions for 4,327 yards (12.5 avg.) and 26 touchdowns. Additionally, he has posted 40 catches for 516 yards and four touchdowns in eight postseason games.

Last season, Crabtree started all 16 games, producing 68 receptions for 698 yards and four touchdowns. In San Francisco’s Week 3 game at Arizona, Crabtree posted a career-high 10 receptions.

In 2012, the 6-foot-1, 214-pounder set career highs with 85 receptions, 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, helping the 49ers capture the NFC Championship. In Super Bowl XLVII, he posted five receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown.

The Dallas, Texas, native was originally drafted the 49ers in the first round (10th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. Crabtree was at two-time winner (2007-08) of the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given the nation’s top wide receiver. The two-time All-American finished his two-year career at Texas Tech with 231 receptions for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Dominates In Their USL Home-Opener Beat The LA Galaxy II 3-1

 April 11, 10:26 PM PT

The Sacramento Republic FC wins their USL regular season home-opener 3-1 over LA Galaxy II, behind a balanced scoring attack from Lopez, Klimenta, and Estrada.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

Rodrigo Lopez picked up right where he left off against LA Galaxy II. After scoring the 90th minute match winner in the previous USL contest with LA, Lopez started the scoring in the 22nd minute after a strong passing buildup led by defender Emrah Klimenta, After receiving the ball from Klimenta in the middle of the box, Lopez used a shot fake to evade a sliding defender leaving just LA Galaxy II keeper Clement Diop to beat. Diop dove to his right and Lopez sent his shot into the open net for an early one-goal lead. The goal was the second of the USL season for Lopez and his fifth goal in his last 3 matches against LA.

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Photos by Shawn Jonas

Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta would add to Republic FC’s lead in the 27th minute. Klimenta received a well-timed through ball from forward David Estrada up the right wing. Klimenta found himself in a one-on-one situation with Diop and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper into the far-post side netting for an early 2-0 lead.

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Republic FC would steal another goal right before halftime. After Lopez’s corner was punched back out to him by Diop, he sent the ball back into the box with a right-footed in-swinging cross that found the head of David Estrada. The Republic FC forward sent the ball past Diop and into the back of the net to secure a 3-0 halftime lead for Republic FC.

LA Galaxy II would get a goal back in the 58th minute. Midfielder Raul Mendiola found space on the right wing behind the defense as he attacked Republic FC keeper Patrick McLain. Recognizing McLain had to come off his line to defend him, Mendiola slid the ball back across the face of goal to find second-half substitute Ariel Lassiter who sent a one-touch right-footed shot into the vacated net to make the score 3-1.

Despite some late chances on goal for Republic FC, including a near miss from Joaquin Rivas, the match would end in a 3-1 victory for the home side. The win was Republic FC’s second of the USL season, both of them coming against LA Galaxy II.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

“They are a good team”, said Republic FC Head Coach Preki after the victory. “We were comfortable in the first half and I warned our guys at halftime that we can’t let them back in. These have been good games and at the moment things are going our way.”

Sacramento Republic FC will be back in action Wednesday, April 15 when they take on Vancouver Whitecaps II at Bonney Field. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

Sacramento Republic FC 3:1 LA Galaxy II
USL Match
Bonney Field – Sacramento, CA
April 11, 2015 – Attendance: 10,906

Scoring Summary: SRFC – Rodrigo Lopez (Emrah Klimenta) 22, Emrah Klimenta (David Estrada) 27, David Estrada (Rodrigo Lopez) 45; LA – Ari Lassiter (Raul Mendiola) 58

Misconduct Summary: LA – Jack McBean (caution) 19, Jaime Villarreal (caution) 32; SRFC – Mickey Daly (caution) 77

LA Galaxy II – Clement Diop; Joe Franco (Lee Nishanian 89), Daniel Steres, David Romney, Jason Bli (Oscar Sorto 35); Alejandro Covarrubias (Kainoa Bailey 76), Jaime Villareal (Ryo Fuji 68), Elijah Martin, Raul Mendiola; Jack McBean, Bradford Jamieson IV (Ari Lassiter 57)

Subs Not Used: Nicholas Shackleford

Stats: Shots: 7, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 1, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 3, Offside: 1.

Sacramento Republic FC – Patrick McLain; Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly, Derek Foran, James Kiffe (Nemenja Vuković 65); Joaquin Rivas, Ivan Mirković, Octavio Guzman (Zev Taublieb 65), Rodrigo Lopez; David Estrada (Cameron Iwasa 70), Justin Braun (Max Alvarez 76).

Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Adnan Gabeljic, Gabe Gonzalez

Stats: Shots: 9, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 2, Fouls: 13, Corner Kicks: 3, Offside: 2.

Match Recap Courtesy of Sacramento Republic Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Early Lead Is Enough To Beat Tampa Bay Storm 36-27

April 10, 2015 7:34 PM PT

TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA — The San Jose Sabercats had a 26-7 lead at half-time. They were tested in the 4th quarter by a 20-point rally by the Tampa Bay Storm . The SaberCats held on for the 36-27 victory and improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2004.  It is the SaberCats second road victory in the three games played this season. They did so in front of 8,588 fans at AMALIE Arena on Friday night.

History was made when Storm wide receiver T.T. Toliver became only the fourth player in Arena Football League history to record 1,000 career receptions when he gathered in a nine-yard pass from Jason Boltus with 4:21 remaining in the second quarter. Toliver joins current Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels, as the one of only two players in franchise history to achieve the plateau. The 38-year-old Toliver now needs five catches to surpass former AFL receiver Chris Jackson and move into 15th place on the all-time receptions list in professional football history.

On the opening drive, SaberCats’ newly acquired wide receiver D.J. Stephens thought he had his first touchdown reception as a SaberCat but the play was nullified by a holding penalty on the offensive line. On the ensuing play Darius Reynolds made a one-handed catch in the back of the end zone on fourth down but he was unable to get his feet in-bounds and San Jose turned the ball over on downs.

On the ensuing drive, the SaberCats top-ranked defense proved its worth, as they forced a Storm fourth down from the seven yard line. On fourth down, defensive end Rodney Fritz stripped Storm quarterback Jason Boltus as Jason Stewart grabbed the ball in the air for an interception, the first on the season for the 2014 AFL Defensive Player of the Year. Stewart continued to be effective, as he forced a safety to end the first half as well.

Leading the defensive front, Fritz had a forced fumble and two sacks, tied for the game-high for San Jose. Defensive end Donte Paige-Moss also had two sacks and forced a fumble that was recovered by David Hyland, his second of the year.

Acquired early this week, Stephens got on the board in the 2nd quarter with a 16-yard touchdown reception as he hauled in the pass while flying over the boards to give San Jose a 14-0 lead. Stephens made a miraculous 31-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, caressing the ball against his leg while falling down to pull in the catch. Stephens led the SaberCats with six receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Getting on the board, Tampa Bay cut the SaberCat lead to 14-7 with a 19-yard touchdown reception by Kendrick Ings. Ings also hauled in a nine-yard reception in the fourth quarter to cut the San Jose lead to 36-13. Ings finished with a game-high eight receptions for 100 yards and three touchdowns.

After a Reynolds 16-yard reception brought the SaberCats down to the two yard line, Meyer was able to take in the quarterback sneak for a touchdown to extend the San Jose lead to 21-7 in the second quarter. While Reggie Gray continues to lead San Jose in receiving, Reynolds proved why he was an All-Arena selection last season with the Iowa Barnstormers. Reynolds finished with six receptions for 64 yards.

San Jose quarterback Erik Meyer did just enough on offense to pull out the third straight victory for the SaberCats. Meyer finished with 179 yards passing two touchdowns on 17-of-32 completions.

Toliver finished with six receptions for 84 yards and hauled in a touchdown reception in the final minute of regulation.

San Jose held a 24-7 halftime lead after a 16-yard Nich Pertuit field goal. The seven points surrendered was the lowest total in a half for the SaberCats this season.

For the third consecutive game, defensive back Vigil Gray grabbed an interception; on this instance he took away a Storm touchdown in the end zone. Gray finished with five tackles, an interception and his impact has been vital for San Jose’s ferocious defensive attack.
Leading San Jose in tackles last season, defensive back Ken Fontenette was all over the field against Tampa Bay. Fontenette finished with a team-high eight tackles, flying around the field for the top-ranked SaberCats’ secondary.

On a 2nd and goal from the 17-yard line late in the third quarter, Boltus was rolled up on by his center and Stewart in an ugly looking play. Boltus was able to recover, finishing with 21-of-39 passes completed for 260 yards and four touchdowns.

With the win, the SaberCats become the first AFL team in 2015 to start 3-0 and will head to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on April 17th.

MEDIA AWARDS

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: QB Erik Meyer, San Jose
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DE Rodney Fritz, San Jose
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR T.T. Toliver, Tampa Bay
Cutters Catch of the Game: WR T.T. Toliver, Tampa Bay (1,000th career reception)
AFL Highlight of the Game: T.T. Toliver, Tampa Bay (1,000th career reception)

Courtesy of San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Raiders Announce Preseason Opponents

April 9, 2015 1:01 PM PT

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders’ preseason schedule will feature home games against the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, and road contests at the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, the National Football League released Thursday.

Date(s)                                       Opponent             Time (PT)        TV
Aug. 13-17                     ST. LOUIS RAMS          TBA         KTVU/KICU
Aug. 20-24   at             Minnesota Vikings     TBA         KTVU/KICU
Sun., Aug. 30      ARIZONA CARDINALS     5:00 p.m.     NBC
Thurs., Sept. 3 at Seattle Seahawks              TBA          KTVU/KICU

The Raiders will open their preseason slate at O.co Coliseum against the St. Louis Rams, marking the first time since 2007 that Oakland will play St. Louis in the preseason. Oakland will travel to Minnesota for the second consecutive season, playing at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota’s campus in Week 2.

The Silver and Black’s third preseason game will be on national television, as they face the Arizona Cardinals on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. It will mark Oakland’s first preseason meeting with Arizona since 2012. The Raiders round out their preseason slate with a road contest at the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. The game will mark the 10th straight season that the Raiders have concluded their preseason against the Seahawks, with eight of those 10 games coming in Seattle.

Non-nationally televised preseason games in 2015 will again be produced in-house by the Emmy-Award-winning Silver and Black Productions, and will air locally on KTVU FOX Channel 2/KICU Action 36. Raiders.com provides additional program listings and carries exclusive year-round coverage of the organization.

Preseason times and specific dates will be announced at a later date.

Photo By Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Announce Free Agent Signings

April 8, 2015 2:52 PM PT

Photo By Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA– The Oakland Raiders have re-signed the following 10 free agents, the club announced Tuesday.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Player                         Pos.    Ht.    Wt.     Exp.      College

Asante, Larry            S       6-0    210       4        Nebraska
Holmes, Andre      WR    6-4    210       4        Hillsdale
King, Marquette     P       6-0    190       4        Fort Valley State
Ross, Brandian         S       6-1    190       4        Youngstown State
Streater, Rod          WR    6-3    195       4        Temple

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

Player                            Pos.    Ht.    Wt.     Exp.     College

Autry, Denico            DE     6-5    275       2       Mississippi State
Leonhardt, Brian     TE      6-5    255       2       Bemidji State
McCants, Matt           T        6-6   310       3       Alabama-Birmingham
Olawale, Jamize  FB/RB  6-1   235       3       North Texas
Thorpe, Neiko          CB       6-1   200       3       Auburn

Streater: Enters his fourth season with the Raiders after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012…Missed the last 13 games of 2014 after being placed on the reserve/injured list with a foot injury…Posted 84 yards on nine receptions and one TD prior to the injury…Career totals include 35 games played with 19 starts, 108 receptions for 1,556 yards (14.4 avg.) and eight TDs…Led the team in receptions (60) and receiving yards (888) in 2013, setting career highs.

Asante: Enters second season with Oakland after playing in six games, starting two, in 2014 before suffering a season-ending injury…Career totals include 23 games played, two starts, 34 tackles (28 solo), one INT, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles…Tallied 23 tackles (18 solo) and one forced fumble last season…Appeared in five games with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013…Debuted with Tampa Bay in 2010, playing in 12 games for the Buccaneers over his first two NFL seasons…Originally drafted in the fifth round (160th overall) by the Cleveland Browns in 2010.

Autry: Returns for his second season after making the squad as an undrafted free agent in 2014…Spent six weeks on the practice squad before appearing in 10 games last season, totaling 13 tackles (eight solo)…Also notched two special teams tackles and one blocked punt…Blocked a punt against Seattle (11/2/14), resulting in the Raiders’ only special teams TD of the season.
Holmes: Enters third season with the Raiders after leading the team in receiving yards in 2014, posting career highs with 47 receptions for 693 yards (14.7 avg.) and four TDs…Career totals include 33 games played with 17 starts, 74 receptions for 1,135 yards (15.3 avg.) and five TDs…In 2013, appeared in 10 games, starting four, and caught 25 passes for 431 yards (17.2 avg.) with one TD…Played in seven games with the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie in 2012, catching two passes for 11 yards…Originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.

King: Begins his third season as Oakland’s punter after signing with the Silver and Black as an undrafted free agent in 2012…Has appeared in 32 games with 193 punts for 9,037 yards (46.8 avg.), placing 54 punts placed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and only 14 touchbacks…Set franchise records in 2014 with 109 punts and 4,930 yards…In 2013, became third punter in franchise history to lead the NFL in punting with a 48.9 average…Missed the 2012 campaign due to a foot injury.

Leonhardt: Enters his second year with the Silver and Black after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013…After spending his entire rookie campaign on the practice squad, played in 12 games, starting three, for the Raiders last season…Recorded six receptions for 35 yards (5.8 avg.) with one TD…Season cut short due to a concussion, landing him on the reserve/injured list for the 2014 season finale…Also contributed significantly on special teams, notching four tackles and one forced fumble.

McCants: Has appeared in 24 games, starting three, for the Raiders since joining the team’s practice squad prior to the beginning of the 2013 season…Originally selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round (201st overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft…Contributed primarily on special teams and as an extra offensive lineman in 2014, seeing action in 11 games…Made 13 appearances and started three games at right tackle in 2013…Spent majority of his rookie season on the Giants’ practice squad after being waived at the end of training camp.

Olawale: Rejoins Oakland for his fourth season with the club, contributing on offense and special teams…Career totals include 35 games played with one start, five carries for six yards (1.2 avg.), and 12 receptions for 81 yards (6.8 avg.) and two touchdowns…Appeared in all 16 games for the Raiders in 2014, posting five receptions for 18 yards (3.6 avg.) and his first two career touchdowns…Also finished second on the team with seven special teams stops…Originally entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012.

Ross: Returns for his fourth season with the Raiders…Has played in 43 games with 24 starts for Oakland over the last three seasons…Career totals include 183 tackles (119 solo), two INTs, two sacks, 14 passes defensed and two forced fumbles…Appeared in one game with the Miami Dolphins in 2014 after being waived by Oakland following training camp…Re-joined the Raiders prior to Week 4…Finished 2014 with 68 tackles (47), two INTs, eight passes defensed and one forced fumble in 13 games…Originally joined the Raiders after being signed off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad in September 2012.

Thorpe: Re-joins the Raiders for his second season with the team…Played a key role on the team’s special teams unit in 2014…Posted two tackles (one solo) and three passes defensed on defense and six special teams stops…Career totals include 23 games played, six tackles (five solo) and three passes defensed…Joined the Raiders as a reserve/future signing in 2014…Played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent.

The San Jose SaberCats Blow Past The Los Angeles Kiss 54-28

April 5, 2015 11:00PM PT

(San Jose, Calif.)– The San Jose SaberCats started fast and finished strong in their 2015 home opener.  The SaberCats fullback Odie Armstrong bulldozed his way into the end zone on the first possession and San Jose never took their foot off the gas.  The SaberCats blow past the Los Angeles Kiss 54-28, in front of 10,175 fans on Saturday night.

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The Kiss struggled to move the ball on the SaberCats defense most of the evening. Despite a good kick return by Marcus Trice which gave the Kiss excellent field position on the five yard-line.  The Kiss could not move the ball on the SaberCats vaunted defense. Two sacks and five penalties later, Los Angeles turned the ball over on downs.

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Photo By Shawn Jonas

The SaberCats jumped out to a 20-0 in the first quarter after wide reciever Reggie Gray scored on a 10-yard touchdown reception, and 6’3″ 315 pound Offensive Lineman Rich Ranglin took a screen pass in for a 14-yard touchdown.

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Gray lead the SaberCats in week one and continued on that same path within  San Jose’s aerial attack. He  finished with 10 receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

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Donovan Morgon got Los Angeles on the score board in the second quarter with a 33-yard touchdown reception from Adrian McPherson, cutting the San Jose lead to 20-7. The leading receiver for the Kiss was not done, as Morgan scored on a 42-yad reception to cut the SaberCats lead to 47-21. Morgan had five receptions for 141 yards and finished with three touchdown receptions for the second straight game.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

Quarterback Erik Meyer played  another great game against the Kiss. He completed 20-of-31 passes for 222 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. Meyer has completed at least one touchdown passes to four different receivers in the first two games.

“(Meyer) goes through his progressions and in our mind somebody is always going be open,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet.

The 27-7 lead was followed by a six-yard interception returned for a touchdown by David Hyland. Drawing from the ironman days of the past in the AFL, Hyland stepped in at wide receiver after Ben Nelson went down with an injury and scored on the other side of the ball as well. In his first appearance on offense since 2012, Hyland hauled in two receptions for 33 yards and a score to earn him J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game honors.

“The next man up is how we prepare every week; you have to know more than one position in this league,” said Hyland. “It’s kind of the old iron man game playing both offense and defense.”

The pass rush of San Jose overwhelmed Los Angeles’ offensive line, as McPherson was sacked six times and eventually was replaced by Brian Zbydniewski in the second half. With the game out of reach, Zbydniewski threw a pair of touchdowns to Morgan, completing 4-of-9 passes for 73 yards.

Virgil Gray took notice of the change, as he picked off Zbydniewski and returned it for a 27-yard touchdown. The off-season acquisition of Gray has been tremendous for the SaberCats secondary, as the playmaker has tallied an interception in both games this season.
Starting at defensive end for the second straight game, Luis Vasquez continued to dominate off of the edge. Vasquez totaled two-and-a-half sacks on the night, constantly disrupting the timing of the Kiss offense. Despite the team adding Donte Paige-
Moss and Rodney Fritz this off-season, the Arizona State Sun Devil is proving his worth in this top ranked defensive unit.

“This year is unfinished business,” said Vasquez. “Coming into this season it’s about what have you done for me lately and what can you do for us to win this game.”

With an aggressive unit that plays physical until the whistle blows, and the team still meshing with the newly acquired players, penalties have been a concern. San Jose committed 15 penalties that resulted in a loss of 92 yards.

“We are still making a lot of mistakes,” said coach Arbet. “It’s still early in the season, but that’s not the standard we want to be playing at.”

Sitting atop the Pacific Division, the SaberCats improved to 2-0 on the season and will travel to Tampa Bay for a showdown with the Storm (1-1) on Friday, April 10th.

DSC04415The San Jose Saber Kittens Pre-Game .  Photo By Shawn Jonas

 

 

Sacramento Republic FC Loses A HeartBreaker 2-1 To The Portland Timbers 2

April, 2, 2015 9:53PM

Courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations,

Photo Courtesy:Portland Timbers 2

Former Republic FC loan player Steven Evans scored late goal to propel Timbers 2 to the 2-1 win.

The match started with both teams trying to maintain possession and control the midfield. Both sides had some good chances early but were unable to convert in the first half.

In the 41st minute Republic FC got their best look on goal in the first half when defender Emrah Klimenta sent a ball to midfielder Rodrigo Lopez in the middle of the field. Lopez trapped the ball and took two dribbles forward to the top of the box before sending a left-footed strike towards goal, but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.

Four minutes later, T2 got their best opportunity of the first half. In the 44th minute a poor clearance by Republic FC left T2 forward Schillo Tshuma open and behind the defense. Tshuma tried to chip the onrushing Patrick McLain but sent the ball just wide left of the goal, keeping the match at 0-0 going into the break.

Republic FC started the second half quickly, winning three corners in the first three minutes of the half. In the 48th minute forward Cameron Iwasa made a move to get behind the defense and had a one-on-one with T2 keeper and former Republic FC loan player Jake Gleeson but was unable to get the ball past the onrushing Gleeson.

In the 61st minute Republic FC was able to find a goal. Second half substitute Joaquin Rivas received the ball at the top of the box, behind the defense, settled the ball and sent a pass back to Iwasa who was running on the right side of Rivas. Iwasa was able to shoot the ball into an open net since Gleeson had rushed forward to block a possible shot from Rivas.

T2 took no time in finding an equalizer just a minute later, made the score 1-1. Defender Taylor Peay ran the ball up the right side of the field and sent a low cross to forward Kharlton Belmar who was behind the defense. Belmar then poked the ball past McLain who was not able to react in time to save the ball.

In the 87th minute Republic FC cleared a weak shot by T2, but the clear went right to the feet of Steven Evans at the top of the box. Evans ran onto the ball and with his first touch sent a rocket into the top right corner of the box and put T2 ahead 2-1.

“It felt good to get the first one out of the way and see the ball go in the net,” said Iwasa of his first professional goal. “Overall the result was definitely disappointing especially giving up the lead and then giving up the late winner as well. We had our chances and could have put the game away but didn’t take advantage of them.”

Republic FC will return home to take on LA Galaxy II at their Bonney Field Opening Night on Saturday, April 11. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. The match is sold out, but fans may purchase tickets to the next Republic FC match, on April 15, at Ticketmaster.com.

Portland Timbers 2 2:1 Sacramento Republic FC
USL Match
Merlo Field – Portland, OR
April 2, 2015 – Attendance: 2,501

Scoring Summary: SRFC – Cameron Iwasa (Joaquin Rivas) 61, POR – Kharlton Belmar (Taylor Peay) 62, Steven Evans 87.

Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Derek Foran (caution) 35, Mickey Daly (caution) 59; POR – Taylor Peay (caution) 69.

Sacramento Republic FC – Patrick McLain; Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly, Derek Foran, James Kiffe; Octavio Guzman, Ivan Mirković, Gabe Gonzalez (Joaquin Rivas 59), Rodrigo Lopez; Cameron Iwasa (Adnan Gabeljic 77), David Estrada.

Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek, Agustin Cazarez, Gabe Gissie, Alfonso Motagalvan.

Stats: Shots: 11, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 2, Fouls: 9, Corner Kicks: 8, Offside: 5.

Portland Timbers 2 – Jake Gleeson; Taylor Peay, Harrison Delbridge, Rennico Clarke, Andy Thoma; Tim Payne, Blair Gavin (Matt Rose 85), Nick Besler; Rundell Winchester (Steven Evans 77), Kharlton Belmar (Fatawu Safiu 71), Schillo Tshuma

Subs Not Used:

Stats: Shots: 7, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 4, Fouls: 18, Corner Kicks: 4, Offside: 3.

The Oakland Raiders Sign Veteran Tackle J’Marcus Webb

April 2, 2015 11:07 AM

Courtesy of The Oakland Raiders Media PR

ALAMEDA, California – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent T J’Marcus Webb, the club announced Thursday.

Webb joins the Raiders following stints with the Chicago Bears (2010-12) and Minnesota Vikings (2013-14). His career totals include 55 games played with 45 starts, and two postseason starts. As a rookie, he started 12 games at right tackle before switching to left tackle in his second season, where he started all 32 games for the Bears from 2011-12.

In two seasons with Minnesota, including the 2013 campaign under Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave when he served in the same role with the Vikings, the 6-foot-7, 333-pounder appeared in nine games with one start. Following the 2013 season, Webb signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent. He was released by the Chiefs following their 2014 training camp, later rejoining the Vikings in November of last year and playing in one game for Minnesota last season.

The Fort Worth, Texas, native was originally drafted by Chicago in the seventh round (218th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Webb’s collegiate career included stints at three different schools, beginning at the University of Texas in 2006, where he helped the Longhorns to a 10-3 record and an Alamo Bowl victory. Webb then spent one season at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, before transferring to West Texas A&M, where he started 24-of-25 games at left tackle from 2008-09.