Tag Archives: David Hyland

San Jose SaberCats Bring Back David Hyland, Add Two Rookie Lineman

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats announced that they have been assigned defensive back David Hyland as well as offensive lineman Dionte Savage and Nick Embernate.

“David has been a valuable player on our team and a big part of our success last year and we are pleased to have him back,” said owner and head coach Darren Arbet. “It is also important to have depth on your offensive line and adding young talent like Dionte and Nick will help us as well.”

Hyland (6-feet, 200 pounds) started 15 games for the SaberCats last season recording 95 total tackles (76 solo), five interceptions, 12 pass breakups and five fumble recoveries. Hyland was named Defensive Player of the Game and Playmaker of the Game at ArenaBowl XXVIII with five tackles, an interception returned for a touchdown and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He was also awarded the AFL Al Lucas Pulse Hero Award for his work in the community.

In 2014, Hyland recorded 36.5 total tackles three interceptions and five pass breakups in eight games as a member of SaberCats. He spend the 2012 and 2013 season as a member of the Utah Blaze.

Hyland began his AFL career with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz in 2010, where he had 76.5 tackles, eight interceptions and 12 pass breakups as a rookie. The Morehead State Eagle earned First Team All-PFL three times and set a FCS record with 61 pass break ups and a school record with 21 career interceptions.
Savage (6-foot-5, 335 pounds) joins the SaberCats as a rookie out of Oklahoma. Savage started at guard for the Sooners over the past two seasons, earning Big-12 Honorable Mention. Prior to Oklahoma, he played at Arizona Western College, where he earned Second Team All-American honors. Savage spend time with the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent earlier this season.

Embernate (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) also joins the SaberCats as a rookie. A three year starter at guard for San Diego State, he earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2012. Embernate signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and spent time with the Toronto Argnoauts of the CFL earlier this year.

Press Release Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

National Conference Championship Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats Face Arizona Rattlers

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – The no.1 seed San Jose SaberCats will host the no.2 seed Arizona Rattlers for the National Conference Championship Game on Saturday, August 22nd at the Stockton Arena. Kickoff is set for 5:00 pm PDT and you can catch the action on ESPNEWS, as well as KDOW 1220AM.

One of the best rivalries in Arena Football League history will add another chapter to the saga, with a trip to Arena Bowl XXVIII on the line. Three weeks ago the San Jose SaberCats clinched home field advantage throughout the 2015 AFL playoffs with a home victory. That crucial win was over the three-time defending Arena Bowl Champion Rattlers, the same team that knocked the SaberCats out of the playoffs in last season’s National Conference Championship game.

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This season, however; San Jose statistically has the top scoring offense and defense in the league, while defeating teams by a remarkable average of 22.2 points per game in the regular season.
The previous meeting between these rivals was on July 31st, where the SaberCats defeated the Rattlers 56-29. San Jose held a slight, 29-26 lead at halftime, before outscoring Arizona 27-3 in the second half, en route to the victory. Quarterback Erik Meyer threw for 286 yards and eight touchdowns (second highest total of the season), while completing 72.5-percent on his passes and was not sacked. Despite the strong attack of the Rattlers’ pass rush, the SaberCats offensive line proved to be a force in keeping Meyer protected.
The receiving tandem of Reggie Gray and Maurice Purify asserted itself as the catalyst on offense. Each had three touchdown receptions in the contest, with Gray hauling in 11 receptions for 88 yards and Purify leading the way with 108 receiving yards. The leading receivers for the SaberCats over the final three weeks of the regular season propelled San Jose to 289.0 total yards of offense per game.

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Ranked as the number one scoring defense this season, the SaberCats held Arizona to under 30 points for the first time this season. The leading tackler in the AFL this season, Second Team All-Arena defensive back Ken Fontenette had eight tackles and broke up four passes.

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Roaming the middle of the box, David Hyland had 7.5 tackles two pass breakups and an interception of Nick Davila. Leading the league in total sacks, the San Jose pass rush was a disruptive force, totaling three sacks, led by Donte Paige-Moss with 1.5 sacks. Earning 2nd Team All-Arena Francis Maka had 0.5 sacks and blocked a kick, which was returned by Rodney Fritz in the second quarter.

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To reach the National Championship game, the SaberCats defeated the Portland Thunder in the quarterfinals of the AFL playoffs last week. Jumping out to a 35-7 lead, San Jose remained in control, answering on any attempt the Thunder had at a comeback.
First Team All-Arena receiver Reggie Gray, the AFL leader in receptions and total touchdowns this season, returned a 57-yard kickoff for a touchdown and added two more receiving scores while Maurice Purify led the SaberCats with seven receptions for 81 yards. In his sixth season with San Jose and a member of the 2007 Arena Bowl Champion SaberCats squad, Ben Nelson had 50 receiving yards, adding two touchdowns as well. With the elusive D.J. Stephens and “Superman” Odie Armstrong, the SaberCats offense, which led the AFL in scoring (58.9 points per game), has an array of talented weapons for the 2013 AFL MVP Meyer to unleash.
Meanwhile, the Rattlers advanced to the National Conference Championship game behind a 72-41 home victory over the Spokane Shock. Davila threw eight touchdown passes, including four to Rod Windsor, who hauled in nine receptions for 112 yards. Chase Deadder led the way for Arizona with nine receptions for 121 yards, adding three touchdowns.

Arizona was in first half battle with the Shock, holding a slight, 30-28 lead at halftime before outscoring the Shock 42-13 in the second half. Defensively, the Rattlers had interceptions by Jeremy Kellem and Ben Wells, while Marcus Pittman added a sack.

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With a win over the Rattlers, the SaberCats would host Arena Bowl XVIII at the SAP Center on Monday, August 31st for a chance at a team’s fourth championship. The winner of this game will face off against the winner of the American Conference Championship game between the Philadelphia Soul and the Jacksonville Sharks.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Advance With A 55-28 Win Over The Portland Thunder

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – The San Jose SaberCats (1-0) moved on to the National Conference Championship game, with a 55-28 victory over the Portland Thunder (0-1) on Friday night at the SAP Center.

The tenacious SaberCat defense, which forced 45 turnovers in the regular season struck again, as Jered Perry caught a pass from Kyle Rowley but was stripped by Ken Fontenette and the fumble was recovered by David Hyland. Fontenette, who led the Arena Football League in tackles this season (146.5), finished with 9.5 tackles and an interception.

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Capitalizing on the turnover, San Jose scored on a four-yard touchdown pass from Erik Meyer to Maurice Purify, getting on the board first with an early, 7-0 lead. With fourth down stops by each team, Portland regained possession in the second quarter, evening the score at 7-7, behind a 33-yard pass from Rowley to Jamar Howard. Howard led the Thunder with eight receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

The SaberCats immediately regained the lead at 14-7, when Meyer threw a beautiful touch pass to the back corner of the end zone for the veteran Ben Nelson, who hauled in the pass as he crashed into the boards for the 22-yard touchdown reception. Meyer completed 20-of-36 for 215 yards and six total touchdowns.

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For the third consecutive game, David Hyland had an interception, this time reading the eyes of Rowley as he roamed the middle of the defense. The turnover set up the SaberCats with ample field position to capitalize, with a four-yard touchdown reception by Reggie Gray, as the lead swelled to 21-7. The SaberCats would end the first half with another touchdown reception by Gray, this time for 16-yards, propelling San Jose to a 28-7 halftime lead over Portland.

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Opening the second half, Nelson would add another touchdown as San Jose stretched its lead to 35-7. But Thunder struck when Duane Brooks, the AFL leader with eight kickoffs returned for a touchdown in the regular season, broke away for a 54-yard score, cutting the SaberCats lead, 35-14. Portland’s defense would hold the SaberCats on fourth down, regaining possession within the
SaberCats’ five yard line. Looking to score on fourth down, Rowley was sacked by Francis Maka, the team’s leader in sacks this season (11).

Fighting to extend its season, the Thunder would force a fumble from a Rich Ranglin screen pass, converting with a two-yard pass from Rowley to Howard to bring Portland with reach at 35-21. Just as the Thunder drew within striking distance, Gray returned the kickoff for a 57-yard touchdown, extending the SaberCats lead to 41-21 as the third quarter came to an end. Gray, AFL regular season leader in receptions and touchdowns, had four receptions for 36 yards and three total touchdowns.

Scoring six total touchdowns last week against the LA KISS in the regular season finale, Purify put on an encore performance, leading the SaberCats with 81 yards on seven receptions.

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Meyer opened the fourth with a nine-yard scamper to pay dirt, and with less than a minute remaining Odie Armstrong added another touchdown on the ground, putting the finishing touches on the victory.

Up next for the SaberCats is a second consecutive trip to the National Conference Championship, facing the winner of the Arizona Rattlers and Spokane Shock game. The National Conference Championship game will be played at the Stockton Arena on Saturday, August 22.

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Beat LA KISS 60-30 Tie League Regular Season Record (17-1)

August 8, 2015 – 10:07pm

LOS ANGELES – The San Jose SaberCats (17-1) wrapped up the regular season with a 60-38 victory over the LA KISS (4-14) on Saturday night. With the win, San Jose tied last season’s Cleveland Gladiators with a 17-1 regular season record, the best mark in Arena Football League history for the 18 game format.

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The SaberCats outscored the KISS 23-7 in the second half and Maurice Purify scored the first five touchdowns for the SaberCats, including two from quarterback Erik Meyer. Meyer finished with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-10 passes. Purify paced the SaberCats with six touchdowns total, three rushing and three receiving, while adding 87 yards receiving.

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Getting out to an early 21-6 lead the SaberCats seemed in control; however, LA outscored San Jose 19-7 to pull within three points at 28-25. Replacing Meyer in the second quarter, the SaberCats continued to pounce with quarterback Nathan Stanley connected with Purify on a 14-yard touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the second half as the lead swelled back to 35-25. Stanley finished the game by completing 13-of-24 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in relief.

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Regaining possession, the KISS scored on a Joe Clancy 10-yard pass to Dorgan Morgan, his third of the first half. LA Kicker Andre Heidari’s PAT kick was blocked and returned by David Hyland, awarding San Jose two points and a 37-31 halftime advantage. Clancy finished with 261 passing yards and six total touchdowns, but also had two interceptions.

LA opened the second half with possession but Francis Maka was able to recover a fumble forced by Donte Paige-Moss on a run by LA FB Hamani Stevens, as San Jose regained possession. The turnover set up the SaberCats for a nine-play drive, capped off with a six-yard touchdown run by Purify, giving San Jose a 44-31 lead.

In the fourth quarter, San Jose scored on a deep, 43-yard touchdown pas from Stanley to D.J. Stephens, yet the KISS would answer with a 44-yard bomb from Clancy to Morgan, cutting San Jose’s lead to 53-38 with 10:52 remaining in the game. Morgan finished with seven receptions for 145 yards and four touchdowns, passing 2,000 yards receiving for the season as well. Stephens led the SaberCats with 97 yards receiving on five receptions.

The opportunistic SaberCats defense would capitalize when Hyland grabbed an interception for the second straight week, this time taking it back for a 47-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 60-38 with five minutes remaining in the game. Hyland also led the SaberCats with seven tackles, while KISS defensive back Shaine Boyle led all defenders with nine tackles.

In his first start of the season, defensive back Kenny Okoro sealed the victory for San Jose, intercepting a Clancy pass with two minutes remaining. Also making his first start of the season, defensive end Chris McAllister recorded his first sack as a SaberCat on a safety with Maka also credited on the sack of Clancy in the fourth quarter.

The SaberCats roll into the playoffs with home field advantage and will host the first round of the National Conference playoffs at the SAP Center on Friday, August 14th at 7:30 pm PDT.

Offensive Player of the Game: SJ WR Maurice Purify
Defensive Player of the Game: SJ JLB David Hyland
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: SJ WR Maurice Purify
Cutters Catch of the Game: LA WR Donovan Morgan catch to pass 2,000 yards in a season
AFL Highlight of the Game: SJ David Hyland interception return for a touchdown

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Claw Back From A 13-Point Deficit To Defeat Arizona Rattlers 56-29; Clinch Number One Seed In Playoffs

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – The San Jose SaberCats (16-1) clinched the number one overall seed in the Arena Football League and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, with a triumphant 56-29 victory over the Arizona Rattlers (13-4).

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The showdown featured the previous two AFL Most Valuable Players in quarterbacks Erick Meyer and Nick Davila. Leading the way for the SaberCats, Meyer, the 2013 MVP, completed 73 percent of his passes for 286 yards and eight touchdowns. Meanwhile, the San Jose defense came up huge, allowing just three second half points.

“We didn’t play well the last two games in our mind and we wanted to come out and have a good showing with a lot of energy and they did that tonight,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet.

The Rattlers got on the board first when fullback Mykel Benson finished a six play drive with a three-yard touchdown run. San Jose would answer on a scoring drive of its own, as Reggie Gray caught a seven-yard pass and dove into the end zone, evening the score at 7-7.

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Arizona would answer in the second quarter with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Nick Davila to Rod Windsor and another score on a 20-yard pass to Kerry Reed, as the Rattlers led 20-7.
With the history of these two rivals, the back-and-forth pendulum swung, as the SaberCats cut into the Rattlers’ lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Maurice Purify. The touchdown was the first for Purify as a SaberCat, who spent the past three seasons with Arizona, and cut the lead to 20-14.

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The momentum carried over for the SaberCats after Davila fumbled the snap and Donte Paige-Moss recovered the ball, giving San Jose possession. The SaberCats would capitalize with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Odie Armstrong to tie the game 20-20 with just under a minute remaining in the first half.

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Arizona followed the 14 points scored by San Jose with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Windsor; however, the PAT kick would be blocked by Francis Maka and scooped up by Rodney Fritz, who returned the kick, awarding the SaberCats two points and cut the lead to 26-22. Following the stellar special teams play, San Jose scored on a four-yard pass from Meyer to Purify, his second of the game, as the SaberCats held their first lead of the game at 29-26 to end the first half.

After recovering the second half kickoff from a ball off of the net, the Rattlers tied the game 29-29 with a 27-yard field goal by Fabrizio Scaccia. The SaberCats would answer as Gray would get open in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown reception, giving San Jose a 35-29 edge.

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The SaberCats’ number one ranked defense continued to stifle the Rattlers. Following an interception by David Hyland, San Jose capitalized on the turnover when Purify grabbed the pass from Meyer, broke a tackle and took off for a 34-yard touchdown, as the SaberCats lead swelled to 42-29 with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter. Purify finished with 10 receptions for 108 yards and three touchdowns.

“There is never a doubt in anyone’s mind no matter what the score,” said Meyer. “We always know that there is going to be a play made and the momentum will switch in our favor eventually.”

Not allowing the Rattlers to get into a rhythm offensively, Donte Paige-Moss and Francis Maka teamed up for back-to-back sacks to force a 4th and 19, culminating in an incomplete pass by Davila and turnover on downs. Leading the AFL in touchdown receptions, Gray would find a soft spot in the end zone and haul in his third touchdown of the game, extending the SaberCats lead to 49-29.
With a routine 12-yard reception in the second quarter, Gray broke Jason Willis’s franchise record for most receiving yards in a season (1,606) set in 2013. Gray, who hauled in 11 receptions for 88 yards and three touchdowns, is now the SaberCats all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, touchdown receptions and scoring in a season.

Veteran SaberCat Clevan Thomas recorded two tackles, en route to becoming the ninth player in Arena Football League history with 600 or more career tackles.

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“They were in tuned with each other and they played well tonight,” said Arbet. “The first goal is to win your division, second goal is home field advantage and from there it’s to get to that game.”

The SaberCats will hit the road to take on the LA KISS on Saturday, August 8th in the regular season finale.

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Offensive Player of the Game: QB Erik Meyer
Defensive Player of the Game: LB David Hyland
J Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Maurice Purify
Cutters Catch of the Game: WR Reggie Gray 12-yard record setting catch
AFL Highlight of the Week: WR Maurice Purify 34-yard TD

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats (13-1) vs New Orleans Voodoo (2-11)

July 8, 2015 – 11:59am

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – The San Jose SaberCats (13-1) will host the New Orleans VooDoo (2-11) at the SAP Center on Friday, July 10th. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2 as well as 1220AM KDOW.

Playing the past two games on the road against the Las Vegas Outlaws and Spokane Shock, the SaberCats have outscored their opponents 125-58. On the season, San Jose has outscored its competition 834-511, resulting in a 23.1 average margin of victory, the best in the Arena Football League.

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In his first game at Spokane’s Veterans Memorial Arena as a member of the SaberCats, quarterback Erik Meyer completed 76.5-percent of his passes, resulting in 277 yards and seven touchdowns, also adding another score on the ground. The 2013 AFL Most Valuable Player has thrown for 68 touchdowns, completed 65.3-percent of his passes and has only thrown six interceptions on 398 passing attempts. Meyer has thrown a touchdown pass to ten different receivers this season, with Reggie Gray leading the way.

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Ranking second in the league with 33 touchdown receptions, Gray is tied with Philadelphia Soul receiver Marco Thomas for first in the AFL with 124 receptions and is fourth with 1,349 yards. “Big Play” Reggie Gray has also returned three kickoffs for a touchdown and his 216 points scored is the most in the league. With Meyer and Gray pacing the offense, San Jose leads the AFL, scoring an averaging of 59.6 points per game.

Meanwhile, the VooDoo offense is led by second year quarterback Adam Kennedy. Making nine appearances this season, Kennedy has completed 60.8-percent of his passes for 28 touchdowns, while also leading New Orleans in rushing. Chris Duvalt has been the number one weapon for the Voodoo, totaling 17 touchdowns on 951 receiving yards.

After a stellar career with the Alabama Hammers of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL), receiver Charles McClain has made an immediate impact for New Orleans. In only three games, McClain is averaging 87.7 receiving yards per game and has five touchdowns, emerging as one of Kennedy’s favorite targets.

In order to stop the VooDoo’s attack, the SaberCats will need to rely on their defensive front to create havoc. Earning Second Team All-Arena honors last season, Francis Maka leads the team with 10.5 tackles for a loss and has already tied his sack total from last year (9.5) in four fewer games played and is ranked second in the league. Right behind Maka is defensive tackle Jason Stewart with 8.0 sacks on the season, tying him for fourth in the AFL. Donte Paige-Moss (7.5) and Luis Vasquez (6.0) also rank in the top ten in sacks, with San Jose amassing a league-high 37 sacks.

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While the defensive front has been a disruptive force, it has been the SaberCats’ secondary that has stifled their opponents passing attacks. Defensive back Ken Fontenette has put together one of the best seasons statistically in his career. Fontenette leads the AFL with 104.0 total tackles and 23 pass breakups, adding ten interceptions.

Leading the secondary with Fontenette is veteran Clevan Thomas. Ranking second in the league all- time in interceptions, Thomas has added four interceptions and is ranked fourth on the team with 34.5 tackles. At the linebacker position, David Hyland is second on the team with 76.5 total tackles, nine pass breakups and has capitalized on loose balls, totaling five fumble recoveries. The SaberCats’ defense has been dominant, surrendering a league-low 36.5 points per game.

The last matchup between these two squads was in 2013, where the SaberCats defeated the VooDoo 57-38 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Game Preview Courtesy to the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Improve To Arena Football League Best 13-1 With 62-27 Win Over Spokane Shock

SPOKANE, Wash. – The San Jose SaberCats (13-1) scored 42 straight points to defeat the Spokane Shock (4-9) 62-27, Friday night at the Spokane Veteran’s Memorial Arena.

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Behind the efforts of defensive back Ken Fontenette, the SaberCats jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Fontenette recovered an Arvell Nelson fumble, leading to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Erik Meyer to Reggie Gray. On the ensuing drive, Fontenette broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down, intended for Jabin Sambrano, allowing for Meyer and the SaberCats’ offense to take over. Meyer found Gray again, this time on a four-yard touchdown pass. One of the leading quarterbacks in the Arena Football League, Meyer completed an efficient 26-of-34 passes for 277 yards and seven touchdowns against his former team.

Spokane got on the board to open the second quarter, when Nick Truesdell made a one-handed catch in the back corner of the end zone, as the Shock cut the SaberCats lead to 14-7 with 13:46 left in the first half.

Late in the second quarter, Spokane tied the game 20-20 on a fumble recovery for a touchdown, while San Jose scored on a 14-yard touchdown reception by Jeremy Kelley, as well as a five-yard touchdown reception by Ben Nelson, as the SaberCats held a 27-20 advantage over the Shock at halftime. Nelson, a seven year veteran, grabbed 10 receptions for 91 yards and touchdown.

The SaberCats opened the second half with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Reynolds. San Jose continued to control the momentum, as David Hyland recovered the ensuing kickoff, which bounced off the cross bar.

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Taking over on possession, Reggie Gray capitalized on an 11-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone, getting one foot in bounds as the play was reviewed by the officials and confirmed the touchdown reception. Continuing to score in the third quarter, Meyer added a 15-yard quarterback run; pump faking as he found pay dirt, extending the SaberCats lead to 48-20 in the third quarter. Gray had a game-high 14 receptions for 154 yards and four touchdowns, continuing to be among the league leaders with 33 touchdown receptions.

Shock quarterback Carson Coffman threw for two touchdowns before leaving the game in the second half with an injury. Arvell Nelson took over under center, but was unable to find success against the SaberCats’ defense.

The best defense in the league responded with great coverage in the secondary, allowing Francis Maka recorded back-to-back sacks of Nelson, bringing his total to 10 sacks on the season. Leading the Arena Football League in tackles, Fontenette added seven more to his total of 105.5 tackles on the season.

With two interceptions last week, defensive back Fredrick Obi followed the Maka sacks by drifting into the end zone, grabbing the interception, giving the SaberCats’ offense an opportunity with good field position to start the fourth quarter. For the second-straight week Obi led San Jose nine tackles.

Recording his fifth touchdown of the season, offensive lineman Rich Ranglin scored on the 19-yard reception, as San Jose scored 25 unanswered points to 55-20.

The Shock scored with under a minute remaining on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Truesdell, cutting the SaberCats’ lead to, 62-27. Truesdell led Spokane with 12 receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

The SaberCats will return from the 4th of July bye week to host the New Orleans VooDoo on Friday, July 10th at the SAP Center, with the game televised live on ESPN2.

Offensive Player of the Game: SJ QB Erik Meyer
Defensive Player of the Game: SJ DB Ken Fontenette
J. Lewis Small Playmaker: SJ WR Reggie Gray
Cutters Catch of the Game: SPO WR Nick Truesdell 1st half
AFL Highlight of the Game: SPO DB Mike McMillen fumble recovery for TD

Game recap by Matthew Dziak 

Courtesy of San Jose SaberCats Medial Relations

San Jose SaberCats Quiets Portland Thunder 61-42; Improve To AFL Leading 10-0

All Photos By Shawn Jonas

Portland, OR. – The San Jose SaberCats (10-0, 3-0) held off the Portland Thunder (3-6, 1-2) 61-42, on Saturday afternoon at the Moda Center.

In the second of three meetings this season for the Pacific Division rivals, the SaberCats got off to a slow start, but took over the reins with a momentum shifting second quarter, propelling them to victory and remaining unbeaten.

It did not start well for San Jose, after they fumbled the opening kickoff, allowing a safety; Portland drove down the field and scored on a Jared Perry touchdown reception, jumping out to an early 9-0 lead.

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The SaberCats responded though, getting on the board with an Odie Armstrong bruising 4-yard touchdown run, to cut the Thunder lead to 9-6. Armstrong added another touchdown in the final minute, the 96th of his career, passing Bo Kelly for third most in AFL history.
On the ensuing kickoff, David Hyland stripped Duane Brooks and defensive back Clevan Thomas dove on the ball for the recovery.

Thomas also had an interception in the first half and San Jose capitalized on the turnover with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Erik Meyer to Reggie Gray, taking a 13-9 lead.

Erik Meyer, last week’s AFL Offensive Player of the Week, had another stellar performance, completing 31-of-40 passes for 264 yards and seven touchdowns.

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Following a Kyle Rowley 1-yard touchdown run for the Thunder, the SaberCats scored 20 unanswered points on Adron Tennell and Reggie Gray touchdown receptions, leading 33-15 at halftime. Earning AFL Most Valuable Player of Week 9, Gray had 15 receptions for 137 yards and five touchdowns, matching his mark of five touchdowns from last week’s game against the Cleveland Gladiators.

Trailing 40-15 in the third quarter, Portland scored on a kickoff return for a touchdown by Duane Brooks, who made several SaberCats miss en route to the end zone. Brooks added another kick return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, bringing his total to four on the season.

Leading all defenders with nine tackles on the night, Ken Fontenette added two second half interceptions in the end zone, now with nine on the season to lead the AFL. Acquired from the Jacksonville Sharks earlier this week, Portland quarterback Alex Carter took over for Rowley following the interception in the third quarter and connected with Perry on a deep, 39-yard touchdown, cutting the San Jose lead to 40-29. Rowley struggled to find consistency, completing 9-of-21 passes for 75 yards before Carter took over. After completing his first two passes in a Thunder uniform, Carter finished strong, completing 5-of-8 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

The Thunder receiving duo of Jared Perry and V’Keon Lacey continues to be a bright spot this season. Lacey led the Thunder with five receptions for 59 yards and his one touchdown brought his season total to 14. Meanwhile, Perry hauled in four receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns, including a 39-yard touchdown from Carter.

For San Jose, receiver Adron Tennell had his third straight multi-touchdown game. The 2013 AFL Receiver of the Year hauled in eight receptions for 57 yards and added two touchdowns. Making his first appearance of the season, SaberCats’ receiver Jeremy Kelley added eight receptions for 70 yards.

The SaberCats defense came into the game leading the AFL, surrendering only 37.4 points per game and with two special teams’ touchdowns for the Thunder; the defense held the Thunder offense to only 28 points scored, continuing to dominate.

San Jose will be at home at the SAP Center on Friday, June 5th to take on its other Pacific Division foe, the Spokane Shock; kickoff is at 7:30PM PDT.

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Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose Saber Cats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats (9-0) vs. Portland Thunder (3-5) Game Preview 5/30 3:00 PM Pacific Time

San Jose, Calif.- The San Jose SaberCats (9-0, 2-0) will travel to take on the Portland Thunder (3-5, 1-1) at the Moda Center on Saturday, May 30th.

In a rematch from week five, where the SaberCats defeated the Thunder 64-45 at home, the Pacific Division rivals will meet for the second of three regular season games. The SaberCats are reeling, after a 70-58 comeback victory over the Cleveland Gladiators last week, to remain unbeaten. On the contrary, Portland has lost three of its last four games, including a 69-43 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Predators last week, after starting the season 2-1.

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After missing two games, SaberCats’ quarterback Erik Meyer returned to the starting lineup and put on a gem against the Gladiators. Meyer completed 71.4-percent of his passes for 406 yards and set a season-high with nine touchdowns, leading San Jose to a second half comeback win. Meyer has been stellar in his first season with San Jose and despite missing two games; he is still ranked in the top five statistically among quarterbacks in the league. Meyer has been aided by some of the best receivers, who have propelled the SaberCats to the top of the league in scoring (61.2 points per game).

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Reggie Gray, the team’s leading receiver is coming off of a season-high performance in the win last week, over the Gladiators. “Big Play” had 14 receptions for 201 yards and five touchdowns to lead all receivers in the game. This season Gray has 767 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns, while also making a tremendous impact on special teams with three kick returns for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Adron Tennell has also been a focal point for the offense. With his already established rapport with Meyer from their years as teammates with the Spokane Shock, Tennell has 15 touchdowns in eight games, including five in the past two weeks.

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Portland’s defense is led by the young defensive back duo of Okechu Okoroha and Osagie Odiase is ranked first and second on the team in total tackles. Odiase, a rookie out of Sacramento State, has 39.0 tackles as well as 10 pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Alongside him, Okoroha has also recovered two fumbles and has 29.0 total tackles. The secondary of Portland will have its hands full with the full array of talent San Jose has at receiver.

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Ranking first in the league in almost every defensive category, the SaberCats stout defense is led by defensive back Ken Fontenette. Fontenette leads the AFL with seven interceptions, including three against the Spokane Sock in week eight. He is also tied with teammate David Hyland with 63.5 total tackles to lead the league. As a unit, the four man rotation of the San Jose defensive line, along with linebacker Francis Maka, has totaled 25 sacks to lead the AFL. Luis Vasquez, Jason Stewart, Donte Paige-Moss and Rodney Fritz all have four or more sacks, while Maka is second in the AFL with six. The defensive unit for the SaberCats has been a menace for opposing offensive lines and their ability to get pressure on the quarterback has allowed the secondary to capitalize on turnovers. Working as a cohesive unit, the SaberCats defense will look to remain the best in the league under the guidance of defensive coordinator Cedric Walker.

Portland’s leading receiver V’Keon Lacey has had six touchdowns over the past two weeks and 13 total on the season. With Jamar Howard out, Jared Perry and Duane Brooks have stepped up in the other receiving roles for the Thunder. Perry, the 2011 AFL Rookie of the Year, has totaled 322 yards and seven touchdowns in four games this season. Meanwhile, Brooks is coming off a his best performance of the season last week against the Orlando Predators, where he led the Thunder with 12 receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Similar to the matchup against the Cleveland Gladiators last week, the SaberCats will have a trio of receivers to keep tabs on in the secondary.

Portland quarterback Kyle Rowley has had some high and low spots this season; while Darron Thomas, the former Oregon Duck, has started the past couple of weeks. Thomas went out with an injury in last week’s game against Orlando and it is still uncertain who will start under center for Portland. Regardless of who is taking the snaps, they will be tasked with facing the league’s top ranked defensive unit.

This Pacific Division game will also feature two of the top head coaches as well. SaberCats Head Coach Darren Arbet is ranked second all-time in regular season wins (161), while Thunder Head Coach Mike Hohensee ranks third (156).

The SaberCats are 4-0 all-time in games against the Thunder and with a win Saturday; they could pull ahead by 6.5 games in the Pacific Division.

The game can be found on ESPN3 or by radio on 1220AM KDOW with David Lewis and Ben Nelson on the call.

 

The San Jose SaberCats Remain UnBeaten Blowout The Spokane Shock 83-28

May 16, 2015 9:57 PM PT

All Photos by Shawn Jonas from May 8, 2015 at the SAP Center vs. Las Vegas Outlaws

Courtesy Of The San Jose Saber Cats Media Relations  

By Mathew Dziak

Spokane, Wash. – The San Jose SaberCats (8-0, 2-0) defeated the Spokane Shock (2-5, 0-2), 83-28 at Spokane Veteran’s Memorial Arena on Saturday May 16th, to remain undefeated on the season.

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Getting his second consecutive start for San Jose, quarterback Nathan Stanley built on his success from last week’s performance against the Las Vegas Outlaws; completing 14-of -22 passes for 212 yards and set a career-high with eight touchdowns (nine total), leading San Jose’s offense to its highest point total of the season. San Jose’s 83 points was the highest point total this season scored by an Arena Football League team and the first to eclipse 80 points in a game.

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The SaberCats got on the board first, with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Stanley to Darius Reynolds. On the ensuing drive, defensive back Ken Fontenette grabbed an interception from Spokane quarterback Warren Smith. Fontenette finished with six tackles, a fumble recovery on special teams and now leads the Arena Football League with six interceptions this season, after adding three against Spokane. Rich Ranglin made it 14-0 in the first quarter, after hauling in a 17-yard touchdown, his third of the season.

Spokane cut the San Jose lead to 14-7, with a 7–yard touchdown from Smith to receiver Anthony Amos. Amos finished with a team high nine receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns. The SaberCats answered in the beginning of the second quarter, with a 3-yard touchdown from Reynolds to make it a 21-7 lead. Reynolds added a 37-yard touchdown reception off a screen play and finished with a team-high 85 yards on four receptions and four total touchdowns (three receiving).

The Shock’s leading receiver this season, Mike Washington added to his touchdown total, with a leaping 6-yard touchdown reception, crashing into the end zone boards to cut the SaberCats’ lead to 21-14, prior to the end of the first quarter. Washington finished with eight receptions for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns and the 21-14 mark was the closest Spokane got within of San Jose.

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With a big hit from David Hyland on Shock receiver Rashaad Carter, Ken Fontenette grabbed the deflection and returned the interception for a touchdown to extend the SaberCats lead to 42-21 in the second quarter.

The SaberCats held a commanding, 49-21 lead at halftime, after Stanley scrambled right and ran in a 3-yard touchdown with under a minute left tin the half. Whether it was through the air, or on the ground, Stanley had a career night.

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After spending four seasons with the Shock, SaberCats’ receiver Adron Tennell returned to Spokane and had a tremendous impact. Tennell finished with six receptions for 74 yards and hauled in three touchdowns.

Also starting his second straight game, Spokane quarterback Warren Smith did not have the same success he had last week against the Los Angeles KISS. Smith threw for 206 yards and four touchdowns, but was picked off four times.

After trailing 76-28 with seven minutes remaining, the Shock turned to Chase Coffman at quarterback. Coffman was unable to rally Spokane against the dominant SaberCats’ defense, completing only 1-of-8 passes for five yards to end the game.

The SaberCats outscored the Shock 34-7 in the second half to sustain their lead and secure the win.

After the Philadelphia Soul lost to the Jacksonville Sharks, San Jose is the only unbeaten team in the AFL and will be back at home next week Saturday, May 23rd at 7:30PM PDT, to host the Cleveland Gladiators (5-3) for Military Appreciation Night at the SAP Center.