Tag Archives: Kyle Rowley

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 Hold On in OT, 55-49 Over Portland Thunder

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – The San Jose SaberCats (15-1, 5-0) grinded out a, 55-49 overtime thriller over the Portland Thunder (4-11, 1-4) on a record setting night Saturday.

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The SaberCats came back from a 20-point first half deficit, outscoring the Thunder 34-15 in the second half and overtime to remain undefeated in the Pacific Division. Trailing 49-41 halfway through the fourth quarter, Portland scored on a six-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Rowley to V’Keon Lacey and successfully completed the two-point conversion on a two-yard pass from Rowley to Duane Brooks, tying the game at 49-49.

With 3:04 remaining, San Jose took over for its final drive, as quarterback Erik Meyer orchestrated an eight-play drive, setting up a potential game-winning field goal. Lined up 27-yards away with just one second remaining, SaberCats’ kicker Nich Pertuit had his kick blocked by Frank Trotter, forcing overtime.

In their second home overtime outing of the season, the SaberCats received the ball first. On the drive, Meyer completed six passes to three different receivers; with Ben Nelson hauling in the four-yard go ahead touchdown, giving San Jose a 55-49 lead, despite missing the point after try. With a chance to equalize, the Thunder moved the ball down to the SaberCats’ five yard line, but was stopped on fourth down with an incomplete pass from Rowley, intended for Lacey and sealed the win for San Jose.

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“The guys kept their composure, they continued to fight and they got the win,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet.

Portland opened the game with an 11-yard touchdown reception by Jared Perry to jump out to an early 6-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, Thunder defensive back De’Mon Glanton would strip Darius Reynolds and recover the fumble, setting up Rowley for a 13-yard touchdown pass to Lacey, making it a 13-0 lead with 8:51 remaining in the first quarter. Portland would regain possession after forcing a San Jose turnover on downs, leading to a 4-yard touchdown by Lacey, giving the Thunder a 20-0 lead after the first quarter. Lacey led the Thunder with four touchdowns, adding seven receptions and 63 yards receiving.

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With a routine 9-yard reception in the first quarter, Reggie Gray broke Rodney White’s all-time franchise record of 134 receptions in a season. Gray had a team-high 14 receptions 130 yards four touchdowns.

After the slow first quarter, The SaberCats would awaken in the second frame, getting on the board with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Erik Meyer to Gray in the corner of the end zone, taking a big hit but hanging on; cutting the lead to 20-7. The SaberCats would force a turnover on downs of their own, eventually scoring on a six yard touchdown pass from Meyer to veteran receiver Ben Nelson, making it a 20-14 score with 6:37 remaining in the first half. Meyer completed 34-of-50 passes for 284 yards for eight touchdowns.

In the final minute of the half, Jared Perry would add a 24-yard touchdown reception and Lacey would grab a 10-yard touchdown reception, extending the Thunder lead back to 20 at 34-14. Perry finished with a game-high 13 receptions for 156 yards, adding two touchdowns.

The roller-coaster of momentum swung back the SaberCats way when Gray returned the kickoff 48-yards, down to the eight-yard line with 12 seconds remaining. Gray would finish the drive with a 4-yard touchdown reception as the SaberCats trailed at halftime for only the second time this season at, 34-21.

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Coming out of the break, the SaberCats would march down the field from the three yard line, scoring on a 19-yard touchdown reception by Darius Reynolds. On the ensuing drive, Fontenette would intercept Rowley for the second time in the game, providing the San Jose offense with possession inside the red zone. The SaberCats top ranked scoring offense capitalized on the great field position, with Gray hauling in a 2-yard touchdown reception, giving the SaberCats their first lead at, 35-34 in the third quarter.

With his fourth touchdown of the game, Gray broke a SaberCats franchise record for most receiving touchdowns in a season with 41 and gave San Jose a 42-41 lead. “Big Play” Reggie Gray finished with a team-high 14 receptions for 130 yards and four touchdowns.

After Nelson grabbed his second touchdown of the game, Portland answered with a 6-yard pass from Rowley to Lacey, also successfully completing the two-point conversion to tie the game at 49-49, the mark that would stand until overtime.

2015 San Jose SaberKitten Reunion – Photo by ShawnJonas

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The SaberCats enter their bye week before hosting the Arizona Rattlers on Friday, July 31st, in a National Conference showdown on CBS Sports Network and 1220AM KDOW.

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media 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.