Tag Archives: Nick Truesdell

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

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

San Jose SaberCats Ground Spokane Shock 55-26;11th Straight Win, Remain Undefeated

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE, Calif.– The San Jose SaberCats (11-0) remain unbeaten, as they defeated visiting Pacific Division foe, the Spokane Shock (3-7), 55-26 on Friday night.

“The game tonight was a hard fought game,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet. “They hung in there, continued to grind and got it done.”

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The SaberCats got off to a quick start, taking two plays to score with quarterback Erik Meyer running into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to give San Jose an early 7-0 lead. Meyer completed 27-of-39 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns, while adding two more scores on the ground. With great field position set up by a 39-yard kickoff return from Anthony Amos, the Shock capped its opening drive off with a quarterback run of its own, as Warren Smith snuck in for the 1-yard touchdown. Meyer completed 27-of-39 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns, while adding two more scores on the ground.

“If the coverage tightens up a little bit, (Erik) is able to move around and then we go through the scrambling drill,” said receiver Reggie Gray. “It goes back to pop warner, once the quarterback is moving around; forget what is going on, just get open.”

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Striking again, San Jose answered with a 13-yard pass from Meyer to Gray, as the SaberCats held a 14-6 edge in the first quarter. Gray, the AFL Week 9 Most Valuable Player, finished with 10 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead the SaberCats.

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Late in the first half, Jeremy Kelley hauled in a 7-yard touchdown reception from Meyer, the first of his AFL career, giving San Jose a 28-13 advantage. Kelley added a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, finishing with three receptions for 17 yards and two touchdowns.

Driving down to the seven yard line, Spokane had an opportunity to score on the last play of the first half, but Ken Fontenette broke up a pass from Smith and the 28-13 mark would stand at halftime. Fontenette, the AFL Week 10 MVP, led all defenders with 15 tackles and is currently leading the AFL in total tackles.

“(Ken) is smart, he’s competitive every day and every down,” said Arbet. “He is just a competitive guy and it carries over to the football field and he’s playing really well right now.”

Spokane was without its leading pass rusher, James Ruffin, on its defensive front; however, it was the secondary for the Shock that was able to play great coverage on the SaberCats’ receivers.
Still, the resilient SaberCats leaned on their ferocious defense to hold an advantage throughout the game. Relying on its depth, San Jose at one point even used receiver Darius Reynolds at the linebacker spot for a brief stint.

“The defense played well,” said Arbet. “We played a lot of different guys on defense and when they got in there, they stepped up and did what they had to do.”

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Leading the way for the Shock was receiver Anthony Amos, who hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Smith in the second quarter, finishing with a team-high 11 receptions for 121 yards and the score. In his second start against the SaberCats’ top-ranked defense, Smith completed 23-of-41 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns through the air (one on the ground).

Falling over the boards in the corner of the end zone, Spokane receiver Nick Truesdell used his entire six-foot-seven-inch frame to haul in a 4-yard touchdown reception, as Spokane minimized the San Jose lead to 35-20 with 13:41 remaining in the fourth quarter. Coming off a four touchdown performance against the Arizona Rattlers last week, Truesdell was limited against San Jose’s prolific secondary, grabbing just five receptions for 32 yards and one touchdown.

“Anytime you can hold a team under 40 points in arena football, it’s almost unheard of,” said Fontenette. “For us to continue to do that really shows where we are going.”

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The SaberCats answered, with an 18-yard pass from Meyer to Gray, setting up Odie Armstrong for a 2-yard touchdown run, as San Jose pulled ahead 42-20. After trading touchdowns, the Shock held possession, trailing 49-26 with four minutes remaining, but the drive was halted when Mike Williams intercepted a Smith pass in the end zone, ultimately sealing the victory for the SaberCats.

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Mike Williams started in the box, then at defensive back and at the end, he got an interception to close the game out,” said Arbet.

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For San Jose, its next game will be at home in the SAP Center, against the Los Angeles Kiss on Saturday, June 13th at 7:30PM PDT.

Offensive Player of the Game: WR Reggie Gray
Defensive Player of the Game: DB Ken Fontenette
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR Reggie Gray
Cutters Catch of the Game: SPO WR Jabin Sambrano 4th QT TD
Highlight of the Game: FB Odie Armstrong catch and hurdle defender.

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats

Game Preview: Spokane Shock (3-6) vs. San Jose SaberCats (10-0)

SAN JOSE, Calif.– The San Jose SaberCats (10-0, 3-0) head into week 11 unbeaten and will host Pacific Division foe, the Spokane Shock (3-6, 0-2) at the SAP Center on Friday, June 5th with kickoff at 7:30PM PDT.

San Jose is coming off a 61-42 victory over the Portland Thunder, improving to 3-0 in the Pacific Division; while Spokane lost a heartbreaking game against the Arizona Rattlers, 59-47 after tying the game with less than two minutes remaining.

In the previous meeting between these two teams three weeks ago, the SaberCats were led by quarterback Nathan Stanley, who threw for eight touchdowns and added another on the ground in an 83-28 lopsided win in Spokane. After returning to the starting lineup from an injury, quarterback Erik Meyer has thrown 16 touchdowns over the past two games and ranks fourth in the Arena Football League with 49 touchdowns on the season. With the 2013 AFL Most Valuable Player settling into a grove under center, the SaberCats’ offense ranks first in the AFL, scoring an average of 61.2 points per game. The game against the Shock will be the first time Meyer squares off against his former team, where he spent the first five years of his AFL career.

The leading man for San Jose receivers this season has been wide receiver Reggie Gray. Over the past two outings, Gray has totaled a combined 338 receiving yards, posting five touchdowns in each game. Gray currently leads the AFL, with 24 receiving touchdowns and has also returned three kickoffs for a touchdown. The SaberCats’ can attribute much of their offensive output to the playmaking ability of “Big Play” Reggie Gray. Gray and the rest of the SaberCats’ receivers will have an opportunity to put up another great performance against Spokane’s defense.

Not to be overlooked, the San Jose defense also leads the AFL, surrendering just 37.9 points per game. Leading the Arena Football League with nine interceptions and 72 tackles in 2015, defensive back Ken Fontenette had his best game of the season against Spokane in week eight. Fontenette intercepted Shock quarterback Warren Smith on three occasions, returning one for a 16-yard interception.

Coming off of his best performance of the season for the Shock last week against the Rattlers, wide receiver Samuel Charles was Smith’s favorite target, grabbing 14 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Amos and Nick Truesdell also has been a spark for the Shock offense. Amos has 10 touchdowns in eight games and last week against the Rattlers, he totaled 10 receptions for 92 yards. Truesdell (6’7 240), is an extreme mismatch for most teams, specifically in the red zone. Last week, he had had six receptions for 78 yards with four of those going for touchdowns. The SaberCats’ league leading secondary will have another litmus test against the Shock receivers.

Against San Jose’s ferocious defensive attack, Smith was erratic in his only game against the SaberCats, throwing three interceptions, being sacked four times and was unable to convert on a fourth-down (0-4). However, Smith, the 2014 Professional Indoor Football League MVP, has thrown for 13 touchdowns in the past two games. Last week against the Arizona Rattlers, Smith threw for 319 yards, rushed for 42 more and had seven total touchdowns, while the Shock were outscored 12-0 in the final minute, after tying Arizona at 47-47. With such a close call last week, expect Spokane to come out strong, as they battle down the stretch for a potential playoff berth.

This season, San Jose has won every game by an average margin of 23.3 points per game. After the blowout 83-28 victory over Spokane less than a month ago, the SaberCats cannot rely on their past success, as anything can happen in the indoor war on any given Friday.

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

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations