Tag Archives: Jason Stewart

AFL Announces All-Arena Defensive Team

Photos by Shawn Jonas

LAS VEGAS – Eighteen players earned 2015 First and Second Team All-Arena Defense honors, the AFL Office announced today.

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Headlining the First Team All-Arena squad at defensive end were Joe Sykes, who set new single-season AFL records with 18.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles as a member of the Jacksonville Sharks, and James Ruffin, who logged double-digit sacks (11) for the second consecutive year with the Spokane Shock. San Jose SaberCats nose guard Jason Stewart earned First Team recognition as well after leading all AFL middle men with 10 sacks on the season.

First Team All-Arena Mac linebacker honors went to Tyre Glasper of the Arizona Rattlers, who finished his 2015 campaign with a franchise record 11.5 sacks, while the First Team Jack linebacker was Alvin Ray Jackson of the Jacksonville Sharks, who led all Jacks with 11 takeaways on the year.

Jeremy Kellem of the Arizona Rattlers, James Romain of the Philadelphia Soul and Greg Reid of the Jacksonville Sharks were selected First Team All-Arena defensive backs. Kellem led the League with 14 interceptions, while Romain tallied a career-high 10 picks on the year. Reid led all AFL rookies with nine interceptions and 21 pass breakups. Portland Thunder wide receiver Duane Brooks also earned First Team All-Arena honors as a kick return specialist. Brooks led the League with 1,994 kickoff return yards and an AFL record eight kickoff return touchdowns in 2015.

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Nine more players earned Second Team honors, including: defensive ends Mike McAdoo of the Arizona Rattlers and Bryan Robinson of the Philadelphia Soul; Cleveland Gladiators nose guard Willie McGinnis; San Jose SaberCats Mac linebacker Francis Maka; Orlando Predators Jack linebacker Terence Moore; defensive backs Ken Fontenette of the San Jose SaberCats, James Harrell of the Tampa Bay Storm and Rayshaun Kizer of the LA KISS; and kick return specialist Brandon Thompkins of the Orlando Predators.

First Team All-Arena Defense
Second Team All-Arena Defense
DE Joe Sykes, Jacksonville
DE James Ruffin, Spokane
NG Jason Stewart, San Jose
MLB Tyre Glasper, Arizona
JLB Alvin Ray Jackson, Jacksonville
DB Jeremy Kellem, Arizona
DB James Romain, Philadelphia
DB Greg Reid, Jacksonville
KR Duane Brooks, Portland
DE Mike McAdoo, Arizona
DE Bryan Robinson, Philadelphia
NG Willie McGinnis, Cleveland
MLB Francis Maka, San Jose
JLB Terence Moore, Orlando
DB Ken Fontenette, San Jose
DB James Harrell, Tampa Bay
DB Rayshaun Kizer, LA
KR Brandon Thompkins, Orlando

Press Release Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats vs Portland Thunder Game Preview

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – Launching their quest for a fourth Arena Bowl Championship, the San Jose SaberCats will host the Portland Thunder in the Arena Football League’s Quarterfinal playoffs on Friday, August 14th with kickoff set for 8:00pm PDT. You can catch the action on ESPN2 or 1220AM KDOW.

This will be the fourth matchup between the Pacific Division foes this season, with San Jose victorious in each of the previous three. In the previous matchup on July 18th at the SAP Center, the Thunder jumped out to an early 20-0 lead in the first quarter, holding a 34-21 lead at halftime. However, the resilient SaberCats went on a
28-7 run to open the second half, ultimately winning in overtime, 55-49 with a fourth down stop of the Thunder’s offense.

San Jose wrapped up the regular season with a 60-38 victory over the LA KISS last week in Anaheim. With the win, the SaberCats tied last year’s Cleveland Gladiators for the best regular season record in league history at 17-1.

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Offensively, the SaberCats were led by receiver Maurice Purify. Scoring the first five touchdowns for San Jose, Purify finished with four receptions for 87 yards and six total touchdowns (three receiving and three rushing.) Meanwhile, D.J. Stephens led all SaberCats with 97 yards receiving yards on five receptions and a 38-yard touchdown.

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Finishing the regular season the league leader in receptions (162) total touchdowns (47) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (44), receiver Reggie Gray has had a remarkable season. The fifth year player out of Western Illinois surpassed the 40 receiving touchdown mark for the fourth time in his career and also joined the 200 or more career receiving touchdowns club earlier this season. Now the franchise record holder in receptions, touchdowns, receiving yards and scoring, Gray has put his stamp on making plays in this league and “Big Play” Reggie Gray will remain a crucial factor in the SaberCats offense during their run for a fourth Arena Bowl championship.

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In the secondary, Ken Fontenette has also had a record-breaking season. Now the SaberCats franchise leader with 146.5 total tackles this season, the fifth year man out of Houston is also second in interceptions (12) and tied for third in pass breakups (29). Along with the legendary Clevan Thomas, who ranks second all-time in interceptions, San Jose’s passing defense has remained the leader in the AFL.

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Across the defensive front, the tandem of Francis Maka and Jason Stewart has combined for 21.5 of the SaberCats 44 sacks. Maka is tied for second in the AFL with 11.5 sacks, while Stewart leads all nose tackles with 10 and is tied for fourth in the AFL. In his second year in the league, Donte Paige-Moss has improved on his rookie sack total, now with nine sacks, ranking him tied for sixth.

Meanwhile, the Thunder are coming off a 67-39 loss to the Arizona Rattlers where they trailed 50-28 in the third quarter, before scoring 19 points in the fourth with a late rally. Last week saw the return of receiver Jamar Howard to the Thunder’s lineup. Howard led Portland with six receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown and is a piece of the Thunder receiving group that includes Jared Perry and V’Keon Lacey, each with 29 touchdowns and over 1,100 receiving yards.

Defensively, Portland is led up front by the pass rush duo of K.C. Obi and Marquis Jackson. Jackson leads the team with 7.5 sacks, while ranking second on the team with 11 pass breakups. Obi on the other hand has 6.5 sacks and is fourth on the team with 36.5 total tackles.

With a win, the SaberCats would reach the National Conference Championship game for the second straight year and would play host to the winner of the Arizona Rattlers and Spokane Shock’s matchup at Stockton Arena.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats at LA Kiss

Photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – The San Jose SaberCats (16-1) will hit the road for the regular season finale in an interstate matchup against the LA KISS (4-13) on Saturday, August 8th at 7:00pm PDT. Fans can catch all of the action on ESPN3, the Watch ESPN APP and on radio 1220AM KDOW.

The SaberCats have been on a roll with a five game winning streak, though the only blemish on their record was due to the efforts of the KISS.

In a week 12 matchup back in June, the SaberCats trailed 42-35. San Jose scored on a touchdown pass from Meyer to Gray to tie the game as time expired in regulation. In overtime, the KISS stopped the SaberCats on fourth down, taking over on downs and winning the game on a 16-yard pass from Danny Southwick to DeMarco Sampson.

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Last week, San Jose held off the Arizona Rattlers in a convincing, 56-29 home victory on Fan Appreciation Night. One of the premiere passers in the league, quarterback Erik Meyer orchestrated the attack on offense, which outscored the Rattlers 27-3 in the second half. Meyer threw eight touchdown passes, including three each to receivers Reggie Gray and Maurice Purify.

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Meyer is ranked among the league leaders in passing yards (3,937), touchdowns (91) and has thrown the least amount of interceptions (six). Gray, leads the league with 44 receiving touchdowns (47 total), 158 receptions and is tied for fourth with 1,659 receiving yards.

The defensive unit for San Jose continues to flourish, ranking number one in the Arena Football League surrendering an average of 36.7 points per game. Against the Rattlers, the SaberCats forced two turnovers, totaled three sacks and held Arizona to a season-low 29 points.

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Defensive back Ken Fontenette has already set a franchise record for most tackles in a season and leads the AFL with 146.5 total tackles and is second with 12 interceptions. Roaming the secondary along with the legendary Clevan Thomas and standout rookie Fredrick Obi, the SaberCats have registered 31 interceptions and 80 pass breakups collectively.

In the trenches, San Jose has a league-high 43 sacks, with three players ranked in the top seven. Francis Maka is second in the AFL with 11 sacks, while defensive tackle Jason Stewart has 10 and defensive end Donte Paige-Moss has 9.5, including 1.5 last week against Arizona.

For the KISS, the defense has been a major contributor to the recent success over the past two months. With the addition of Rayshaun Kizer, who leads the team with 66 tackles, 14 pass breakups and five interceptions in nine games, LA has held three of its past four opponents under 40 points.

Attempting to keep its playoff hopes alive, the KISS dropped a heartbreaking loss last week on the road against the Tampa Bay Storm. Trailing 34-31 with 15 seconds remaining, Storm quarterback Jason Boltus connected with T.T. Toliver on a 15-yard touchdown, giving the Storm the edge.

With the win last week over Arizona, San Jose clinched the number one overall seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the ArenaBowl.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats vs Arizona Rattlers Friday July 31st 7:30 PDT

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE, CA. – The San Jose SaberCats (15-1) will host National Conference rivals, the Arizona Rattlers (13-3) on Friday, July 31st; kickoff is set for 7:30pm PDT and the game will be on CBS Sports Network as well as 1220AM KDOW.

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With a win, San Jose would clinch the top seed in the National Conference, giving them home field advantage in the opening round and conference championship game. The showdown will feature the past two Arena Football League Most Valuable Players in quarterbacks Erik Meyer and Nick Davila.

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In their last game, the SaberCats erased a 20-point deficit to comeback for a wild, 55-49 overtime victory over the Portland Thunder. Meyer paved the way, completing 68-percent of his passes, adding eight touchdowns and the go ahead score to receiver Ben Nelson. Meyer’s 83 touchdowns rank fifth in the AFL and are the second most in a season for his career.

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In the win over the Thunder, receiver Reggie Gray broke the SaberCats franchise record for receptions and touchdowns in a single season. Gray leads the league with 44 touchdowns (41 receiving) and 147 receptions, propelling the SaberCats offense to an average of 59.1 points per game, trailing the Philadelphia Soul by six points (59.4) for the top mark in the AFL.

Meanwhile, The Rattlers held off a second half rally by the LA KISS, en route to a 68-55 victory on Sunday. Davila, who missed the first matchup earlier this season in Arizona, has thrown seven or more touchdowns in each of the past three games. The reigning league MVP has 79 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 12 games this season.

Davila’s favorite target Rod Windsor, earned Week 16 AFL MVP honors with 113 receiving yards and four touchdowns against the Las Vegas Outlaws and is carrying a streak of 25 consecutive games with a touchdown. The fifth year receiver has 126 receptions 1,611 yards and 34 touchdowns, averaging 115.1 receiving yards per game this season.

After being activated last week, fellow receiver Chase Deadder grabbed a game-high four touchdown receptions, including three in the fourth quarter to hold off the KISS. Deadder increased his total to 14 receiving touchdowns on the season and along with Kerry Reed, who has 23 touchdowns, the Rattlers rank third in scoring offense (56.7 points per game).

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Though the Rattlers have a potent offense, the SaberCats’ defense has stifled their opponents. Through 16 games, San Jose has surrendered a league-low 37.2 points per game and have held six of their opponents under 30 points. San Jose is led by standout defensive back Ken Fontenette, whose 138.5 tackles is a new franchise single-season record and leads the AFL.

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The veteran duo of Francis Maka and Jason Stewart has propelled the SaberCats to a league-high 40 sacks this season. Maka is second in the AFL with 10.5 sacks and is currently San Jose’s all-time franchise sacks leader. Stewart, the 2014 AFL Defensive Player of the Year, has 10 sacks and a total of 20.5 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and recovery. With the combination of ball hawks in the secondary and elite pass rushers, the SaberCats defense will be in a battle against the top scoring offense they have faced this season.

Similarly, the Rattlers have a tremendous defensive back and pair of pass rushers sure to disrupt the flow of any offense. Jeremy Kellem leads the team with 87.5 tackles and leads the AFL with 13 interceptions and 31 pass breakups.

Meanwhile, Tyre Glasper has been a force for Arizona’s pass rush. In his fifth season with the Rattlers, Glasper has set a career-high with 13 tackles for a loss and his 10.5 sacks are tied with Maka for second in the league. Glasper also had his first interception of the season against the KISS this past week. Defensive end Michael McAdoo is second on team with nine sacks in just 12 games, as the Rattlers rank second in scoring defense, giving up an average of 45.7 points per game.

With two games left in the regular season, San Jose is on the verge of matching the 2014 Cleveland Gladiator’s record mark of 17-1 and clinching the top seed with a win over the three-time defending ArenaBowl Champions.

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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 Cruise Past New Orleans Voodoo 56-35

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – With a record breaking performance, the San Jose SaberCats (14-1) cruised past the New Orleans VooDoo (2-12) 56-35 at the SAP Center on Friday night.

In the third quarter, defensive back Ken Fontenette broke current SaberCats’ Assistant Head Coach Omarr Smith’s franchise record of 114 total tackles in a season, set in 2008. Fontenette also set a season-high with 17.5 tackles in a single game.

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“It’s a great honor, anytime you do anything to get your name in the record books for this franchise,” said Fontenette. “It’s all about the win and about the team and everyone has just set their individual goals aside.”

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On the opening drive, the VooDoo drove down into the SaberCats’ territory before veteran defensive back Clevan Thomas halted the drive by making a one-handed interception in the end zone. Taking advantage of the turnover, the SaberCats got on the board first when Reggie Gray hauled in a 13- yard touchdown pass from quarterback Erik Meyer.

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On the ensuing drive, VooDoo quarterback Adam Kennedy threw his second pick, this time by a diving effort from Fredrick Obi, his fourth interception in four games this season. San Jose capitalized on its fortune with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Darius Reynolds, extending its lead to 14-0. Reynolds finished with seven receptions for 73 yards and the one touchdown.

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The VooDoo would answer, as Chris Duvalt, the leading receiver for New Orleans, grabbed an 11- yard touchdown, cutting the San Jose lead to14-7 with 4:35 remaining in the second quarter. Duvalt finished with a game-high 15 receptions for 165 yards and added three touchdowns.

After trading touchdowns, San Jose extended its lead when Meyer scrambled in from the one-yard line for the score as time expired in the first half, giving the SaberCats a 28-14 halftime lead. Meyer finished with 229 passing yards, completing 76.7-percent of his passes, throwing for seven touchdowns, adding another on the ground.

Late in the third quarter, San Jose forced a New Orleans turnover on downs, scoring immediately as Meyer lofted a beautiful touch pass for Ben Nelson, who made an over the shoulder catch in the end zone before crashing into the boards, extending the SaberCats lead to 42-14.

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“They played with a lot of energy,” said Arbet. “That was the thing that we talked about coming out of the bye and I thought that they did that tonight.”

The VooDoo would answer on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kennedy to Johnny Lester, cutting the SaberCats lead to 42-21. However, the SaberCats remained in control, as Meyer would connect with Gray for two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Gray finished with a team-high nine receptions for 92 yards and four touchdowns and is now two receptions away from breaking Rodney White’s franchise record of 134 receptions in a season, also set in 2008.

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“We work very hard as a receiving core to be where we need to be when we need to be there,” said Gray. “Just getting that chemistry to where Erik can trust us and we get into the game and try to execute.”

Leading the league with 40 sacks on the season, the SaberCats added three, led by defensive lineman Jason Stewart, who had two. Stewart brought his season sack total to 10, joining teammate Francis Maka (10.5) as the two lone SaberCats with double-digit sacks on the season.

“They are as good as there is right now,” Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet said about his defensive front. “It’s tough for quarterbacks to sit there and try to throw the ball downfield with those guys barreling down on you.”

Rich Ranglin, the 2014 AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, added a 13-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, bringing his total to six touchdowns on the season, doubling his total of three a year ago.

“Rich is a versatile tight end, which he self-proclaims,” said Gray about his teammate. “He is one of the best blockers in the league and his ability to come out of the backfield and catch the ball it allows teams not to key in on the receivers we have.”

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Next week, the SaberCats will host Pacific Division foe the Portland Thunder on Saturday, July 18th in the third and final regular season games between the two teams.

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats vs. Spokane Shock

ALL photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE, CALIF.The National Conference leading San Jose SaberCats (12-1) will play on the road for the second straight week to take on the Spokane Shock (4-8) on Friday, June 26, with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. PDT.

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The Pacific Division rivals have squared off twice this season, with San Jose outscoring Spokane by a combined score of 138-54. The third time around will feature quarterback Erik Meyer’s first game at Spokane Veteran’s Memorial Arena as a SaberCat. Meyer, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Shock, winning the 2013 Arena Football League Most Valuable Player award, has thrown for 61 touchdowns and ranks in the top-five of nearly every passing category this season.

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While San Jose possesses a former league MVP, the starting receivers have been the catalyst for the offense. Setting the pace is Reggie Gray, whose 110 receptions, 1,195 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns leads the SaberCats and is also among the top-five in the league.

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Additionally, Adron Tennell has been critical to the success of the offensive attack. Tennell, who won the 2013 AFL Receiver of the Year as a member of the Shock, is second on the team with 18 touchdowns and has added 586 receiving yards, providing the ability to move the chains as well as be a threat in the red zone.

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A versatile playmaker, Darius Reynolds has excelled as a receiver, on special teams and occasionally, filling in defensively. Reynolds has totaled 13 touchdowns, hauling in nine touchdown receptions adding four on the ground, while notching 12 tackles this season. Averaging 59.4 points per game, the SaberCats’ potent offense remains the best in the league.

Offensively, Spokane has turned to Carson Coffman as the starter under center. Coffman led the Shock to a 69-54 victory over the Portland Thunder, completing 20-of-32 passes for 328 yards and a season-high nine touchdowns.

Last month, Spokane added receiver Jabin Sambrano to go along with Anthony Amos and Nick Truesdell. Sambrano, who has spent the past three seasons in the National Football League, most recently with the Atlanta Falcons, led the Shock last week with eight receptions and 125 yards, adding two touchdowns.

Similarly, Truesdell is coming off his best performance of the season last week against the Thunder. Entering the matchup, Truesdell (6’7” 240) had 12 touchdowns through nine games, but in a breakout performance, he added five touchdowns on seven receptions and 124 yards. Meanwhile, Amos currently leads the team among active players with 70 receptions for 758 yards.

Defensively, the SaberCats are led statistically, by Ken Fontenette, Jason Stewart and Francis Maka. Fontenette has had a nose for seeking out the football, leading the league with 98.5 tackles and is second in the league with 10 interceptions. Meanwhile, Maka ranks third in the AFL with 8 sacks, two safeties and has added 17 tackles his season. The 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, Jason Stewart has been a menace in the middle of the SaberCats’ pass rush. Stewart is right behind Maka with 7.5 sacks and has 17.5 tackles with eight going for a loss. The crushing San Jose defense has allowed just 37.2 points per game, to lead the AFL, though they will be tested against a Shock offense that is coming off a 69 point outing last week.

San Jose’s defense has a league-high 24 interceptions and has only surrendered 48 passing touchdowns, the fewest in the Arena Football League by a margin of 11.

The Pacific Division matchup can be seen live on ESPN3, the Watch ESPN app or on radio 1220AM KDOW.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

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