Photos by Shawn Jonas
SAN JOSE, CALIF. – The San Jose SaberCats (11-1) head to Sin City, to take on the Las Vegas Outlaws (4-7) for a National Conference game on Father’s Day Sunday, June 21 at 2PM PDT.
Already clinching the Pacific Division championship, San Jose will be battling down the stretch for the best record in the AFL for the potential opportunity to host the ArenaBowl. Currently, the SaberCats have a full game lead over the Philadelphia Soul (10-2) for the top mark.
Leading the SaberCats offense, receiver Reggie Gray reached triple-digit receptions with 102 for the fourth time in his career, going for 1,128 yards and “Big Play’s” 29 touchdown receptions leads all in the AFL. Gray will likely draw the attention of Las Vegas’ defensive backs, Tanner Varner or Eddie Moten. Varner is a versatile athlete and a veteran leader on the defense, ranking at the top in total tackles with 69 on the season.
Quarterback Erik Meyer ranks among the AFL best, completing 63.7-percent of his passes and is averaging 240.5 yards per game. Meyer has been able to spread the ball around to his teammates, already throwing for 59 touchdowns to 10 different receivers this season. After putting up a season-high 49 rushing yards last week, Meyer also became the team’s leading rusher with 106, eclipsing the 100-yard mark along with fullback Odie Armstrong (101).
Paired with Varner, Moten, is coming off his best performance of the season last week against the Spokane Shock. Moten, a nine year veteran and former SaberCat, had two interceptions, returning one for a 12-yard touchdown in the 62-56 victory over the Shock. A starting defensive lineman for San Jose last year, Terrance Carter has relished in the same role in Las Vegas. Carter is tied with Mike Lewis for a team high five sacks this season, with both registering one last week.
The leading man offensively for Las Vegas has been receiver Jomo Wilson. This season, Wilson has 795 receiving yards and 19 of his 63 receptions have gone for touchdowns. In last week’s win, Wilson grabbed five receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns, pacing the offense. Wilson and teammate Tysson Poots have both had recent success making plays for the Las Vegas offense, but they will be running into a SaberCats’ defense led by the AFL leader in tackles and interceptions, Ken Fontenette.
The SaberCats’ defense has allowed just 37.8 points per game this season, ranking them first in the AFL. San Jose also leads the league in interceptions (21) and sacks (30) but most notably, the SaberCats’ defense is holding teams to a 24-percent fourth down conversion rate. While the offense is converting on 48-percent of its fourth downs, the ability for San Jose to force turnover on downs by its defense, specifically in the red zone, has assisted in the team’s success thus far.
The previous matchup between these two teams was a 61-28 victory by the SaberCats at home in May, while the last meeting in Sin City was the season opener back in March. In that game, from the Thomas and Mack Center, San Jose jumped out to an early 28-0 lead and eventually went on to win 59-41, in the Outlaw’s AFL debut. This will be the third and final installment for the regular season between the SaberCats and Outlaws.
Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations