Tag Archives: New Orleans Voodoo

San Jose SaberCats Assigned OL Cornelius Dixon and WR Mike Willie

Photo by Shawn Jonas

The San Jose SaberCats announced today that they have been assigned offensive lineman Cornelius Dixon and wide receiver Mike Willie.

Dixon (6’6 345), is currently in his fifth year in the Arena Football League, appearing in 12 games for the New Orleans VooDoo earlier this season. Over the past two seasons, Dixon has started 30 games for the Arizona Rattlers, winning two ArenaBowl Championships. For his career, he has caught eight receptions for 102 yards as a tight end in the AFL. Dixon played collegiality at Missouri Valley College, earning the Vikings Most Valuable Blocker and First Team All-Conference honors in 2009.

“Cornelius will add experience and a championship pedigree to our team and we are excited to add a versatile offensive lineman like him to our roster,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet.

Willie (6’3 230), joins the SaberCats in his first year in the AFL. In 2014, Willie spent time in the National Football League with the Baltimore Ravens, while being a member of the San Diego Chargers practice squad in 2012. A two year player at Arizona State University, Willie totaled 72 receptions for 897 yards and nine touchdowns in his career as a Sun Devil.

“Willie is a young and talented receiver who brings NFL experience to our team,” said Arbet. “Depth at the receiver position is important to being successful in this league and Willie has a bright future.”

Player Signing Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats 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 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: 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