Tag Archives: Eric Crocker

Game Preview: Los Angeles Kiss vs. San Jose SaberCats

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats (11-0) will play host to the Los Angeles KISS (1-9) on Saturday June 13th at 7:30PM PDT for the second time this season.

The 2015 SaberCats are approaching franchise history, yet their focus remains on each upcoming opponent. In a rematch of San Jose’s home opener against the KISS, the week 12 rendition will provide the SaberCats with an opportunity to improve to 12-0, tying a franchise best start set in 2002.

In the previous meeting in week two, San Jose came out with a 54-28 victory, behind a balanced aerial attack and disruptive defense. In his first game as a SaberCat at the SAP Center, quarterback Erik Meyer paved the way, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 222 yards and five touchdowns. Meyer connected with four different receivers for a touchdown, while Reggie Gray led all SaberCats with 10 receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Currently, Gray ranks first in the league with 29 total touchdowns (26 receiving) and eclipsed the 1,000 yards receiving mark for the fifth straight year of his AFL career. With Meyer and Gray firing on all cylinders, the SaberCats’ have remained at the peak of AFL scoring offense and have already clinched the Pacific Division title.

Hinging on its depth and talent on the defensive side of the ball, San Jose has the number one ranked defense and has only allowed an average of 36.8 points per game. Winning by an average margin of 23.8 points, the SaberCats had five sacks, two interceptions and only surrendered 209 total yards against the KISS in week two. The defensive front for San Jose has consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks as well. Defensive tackle Jason Stewart is second in the AFL with 6.5 sacks, while Francis Maka and Luis Vasquez rank among the top five.

Combined with a disruptive front is the ball-hawking secondary for San Jose. Defensive back Ken Fontenette leads the way, roaming the secondary for the SaberCats. After adding 13.5 tackles last week, Fontenette’s 85.5 total tackles and nine interceptions ranks first in the AFL. With Fontenette, Eric Crocker and legendary SaberCat Clevan Thomas, San Jose’s secondary will be matched up against a dual-threat quarterback and one of the best receivers in the league.

A mainstay in the AFL, KISS receiver Donovan Morgan is second in the league with 1,148 receiving yards, reaching the 1,000 yard plateau for the sixth straight season. Morgan is coming off a three touchdown performance against the Portland Thunder and with 24 on the season; his ability to make plays will challenge the SaberCats.

Returning to the starting lineup last week, quarterback Adrian McPherson had an immediate impact for the KISS. Against the Thunder, McPherson had 240 passing yards and five touchdowns, adding 32 yards on seven rushes. McPherson leads all quarterbacks with eight rushing touchdowns and against San Jose’s top-ranked pass rush, his legs will be relied upon, as will his arm.

Going through major overhaul on its roster since the last meeting, the KISS is coming off a 52-40 victory over the Portland Thunder last week, the first of the season for them. In a trade with the New Orleans Voodoo a couple weeks ago, Los Angeles acquired defensive back Rayshaun Kizer. A four-time All-Arena defender, Kizer led the way with 8.5 total tackles and added two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in last week’s win.

Continuing to bolster the defense, the KISS also added defensive end Dajohn Harris (6-4 285) and defensive back Josh Victorian (5-10 190), both of whom have multiple years of experience in the National Football League. The additions have seemed to pay off for Los Angeles, with the 40 points surrendered last week the lowest total on the season.

The game will also have a special number retirement and Hall of Fame celebration for former player and current Assistant Head Coach Omarr Smith. The celebration will include a halftime tribute to Smith, the retiring of his jersey number 14 and a Hall of Fame pin and banner give away to the first 5,000 fans in attendance.

The game can be found on ESPN3 or KDOW 1220AM radio.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

The San Jose SaberCats Take Down The Expansion Las Vegas Outlaws In Season Opener 59-41

March 30, 11:15 PM

Courtesy Of The San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Las Vegas, Nevada – The San Jose SaberCats (1-0) rode a colossal first half to defeat the Las Vegas Outlaws (0-1) 59-41 at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday night.

Taking the ball under center, SaberCats’ quarterback Erik Meyer looked across the middle of the field and found the always reliable Ben Nelson for a 14-yard first down, his first completed pass as a SaberCat. The SaberCats shook off the season opener jitters en route to a 21-0 first quarter lead. The SaberCats got on the board first, when Odie Armstrong took the handoff in for a two yard touchdown. Meyer followed that with 32-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Gray, after an offside penalty on Outlaws’ defensive end Terrance Carter allowed for a free play.

On the Outlaw’s opening drive, SaberCats defensive backs Virgil Gray and Eric Crocker were both flagged for defensive holding in the secondary. The ball hawking Gray found his redemption though, picking off Outlaws’ quarterback J.J. Raterink in the end zone two plays later. On the ensuing two Outlaw possessions, Gray and the rest of the SaberCats’ defense forced a turnover-on-downs, including a goal-line run stop.

On the contrary, Meyer led the San Jose offense on six straight first half scoring drives. The former Spokane Shock duo of Meyer and wide receiver Adron Tennell were officially reacquainted, as Tennell hauled in a one-handed reception, as he crashed over the boards for a 29-yard touchdown, giving the SaberCats a 21-0 first quarter lead. Tennell hauled in five receptions for 84 yards in his SaberCats debut.
In his debut with San Jose, the 2013 AFL Most Valuable Player distributed the ball around, throwing for 294 yards on 18-of-29 passes and six touchdowns, while tossing at least one touchdown pass to each of his four receivers. Gray led all SaberCat receivers with seven receptions for 89 yards.

The ageless wonder, SaberCats’ wide receiver Ben Nelson got into the fray as well, catching two first half touchdowns from Meyer, to bring his AFL career total to 172 touchdown receptions. Nelson totaled four receptions for 60 yards.

Scoring the first points for the Outlaws’ franchise, Raterink was able to run in two touchdowns to cut the SaberCats lead to 42-13 at halftime. The Outlaws’ maneuvered the ball into the redzone on five separate occasions in the first half, but only capitalized twice.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Outlaws marched down the field and scored when Las Vegas native, Tysson Poots, caught a four yard touchdown reception from Raterink, his first of three touchdowns on the night. Poots finished with seven receptions and 123 yards to lead all receivers. After the SaberCats offense surrendered their first turnover on downs, the defense answered the call. After defensive end Luis Vasquez stripped Raterink, David Hyland scooped up the ball and was tripped up at the five yard line. The SaberCats would extend their lead to 49-20 after Meyer found Tennell for the second time in the end zone. There was a bit of a scare for the SaberCats after the pass, when Meyer was taken down by a host of Outlaw defenders and was seen icing his hand between possessions.

Similar to the 2014 season, where he took over for starting quarterback Russ Michna, Nathan Stanley assumed the role from Meyer but was unable to find the same immediate success. Coming off of the edge, Terrance Carter sacked Stanley on fourth down to force a turnover. Taking over on downs, Raterink connected with rookie wide receiver LaDon Hudson on a seven yard touchdown pass, to bring the Outlaws to their closest mark at 49-34.

After the SaberCats recovered an onside kick and scored on Armstrong’s second rushing touchdown, the Outlaw’s answered when Poots climbed the ladder, snagged a one-handed reception, broke a tackle and raced into the end zone. The score cut the SaberCats lead to 56-41 midway through the fourth quarter. After Meyer returned to the lineup, the SaberCats extended their lead to 59-41 on the leg of 2014 AFL Kicker of the Year Nich Pertuit, who connected on a 25-yard field goal.

Despite being outscored 17-28 in the second half, San Jose held on thanks in large part to the arm of Erik Meyer and their havoc creating, opportunistic defense. .

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 thesanjosesabercats.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.
-THIS IS SABERCATS COUNTRY-