San Jose SaberCats at Spokane Shock Game Preview

(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.

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.

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.

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 this season.

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.

San Jose SaberCats Ride Big Second Half to Beat Las Vegas Outlaws, 63-31

(LAS VEGAS, NEV.) – The San Jose SaberCats (12-1) scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from the Las Vegas Outlaws (4-8), securing a 63-31 road victory on Father’s Day.
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The Outlaw’s got out to an early lead, scoring on a three-yard touchdown pass from J.J. Raterink to Will Wright. After the SaberCats evened the score at 7-7 on an Erik Meyer 10-yard touchdown pass to Adron Tennell, Gerald Young returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, as Las Vegas found itself up 14-7 in the first quarter.

As they have done the entire season, the resilient SaberCats’ defense forced the necessary stops to provide the offense with opportunities. San Jose took its first lead of the game at 21-14, with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Darius Reynolds in the second quarter. The Outlaws added a 35-yard field goal at the end of the first half, cutting the SaberCats’ lead, 21-17. Meyer completed 20-of-28 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, adding another on the ground.

Receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, San Jose relied on Tennell and Reggie Gray to matriculate down the field, setting up Meyer for the one-yard quarterback sneak, finding pay dirt as the lead swelled to 28-17. Gray, the leading receiver for the SaberCats this season, hauled in a team-high eight receptions for 67 yards; while Tennell added five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Making his second appearance of the season, rookie defensive back Fred Obi intercepted a Raterink pass in the third quarter, returning it down to the two yard line. The turnover set up Reynolds for a two-yard rush, spinning off the pile and running in the touchdown, extending the SaberCats lead to 35-17. Reynolds finished with four receptions for 56 yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing).

One of the premier pass rushers in the league and a San Jose native, Francis Maka found himself unabated to Raterink on several instances, finishing with two sacks. The ability to get pressure on the quarterback, while the secondary tightens its coverage is referred to by the SaberCats team as “pressure picks, coverage sacks”. This combination of effective defense has kept San Jose among the leaders in the Arena Football League in defensive scoring.

Jumping the receiver’s route, Obi grabbed his second interception of the game, returning this one for a 20-yard touchdown to give San Jose a commanding 56-17 lead at the 9:02 mark in the fourth quarter. Obi finished with a team-high eight total tackles and had the first two interceptions of his AFL career.

Entering the game in relief of Raterink, who threw three interceptions, Dennis Havrilla rushed for 30 yards on his first possession, capping off the fourth quarter drive with a seven yard touchdown run, cutting into the SaberCats 56-24 lead. Additionally, Young also led the team in receiving with six receptions for 95 yards and added a one yard touchdown run in the final minute.

The SaberCats have a quick turnaround, as they will travel to take on Pacific Division rival the Spokane Shock Friday, June 26th with a 7:00 p.m. PDT kickoff. The game can be seen live on ESPN3 or the Watch ESPN app or can be heard on the radio on 1220AM KDOW.

Offensive Player of the Game: SJ WR Darius Reynolds

Defensive Player of the Game: SJ DB Fred Obi

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: LV WR Gerald Young

Cutters Catch of the Game: SJ WR Darius Reynolds 15 yard touchdown reception 2nd Quarter

Highlight of the Game: SJ DB Fred Obi Interception for a touchdown 4th Quarter

San Jose to Host Hall of Fame Game July 31

(SAN JOSE, CALIF.) – The 2015 Arena Football Hall of Fame Game is set to kick off on Friday, July 31 in San Jose, Calif. as the San Jose SaberCats host the Arizona Rattlers on CBS Sports Network.

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The festivities will begin with the induction ceremony on Thursday, July 30 where family, friends, and Arena Football fans will be invited to celebrate the careers and contributions of four of the AFL’s all-time greats. This year’s induction Class includes: FB/LB ANDRE BOWDEN, a three-time All-Arena selection and three-time ArenaBowl champion; WR DAMIAN HARRELL, a five-time All-Arena selection and two-time Offensive Player of the Year; OL/DL KYLE MOORE-BROWN, a three-time All-Ironman selection and two-time ArenaBowl champion; and DB OMARR SMITH, a four-time ArenaBowl champion and two-time All-Arena selection.

The inductees will also be honored the following night at halftime of the Arena Football Hall of Fame Game between the Arizona Rattlers and San Jose SaberCats on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET/ 7:30 p.m. PT.

CBS Sports Network will also once again air an Arena Football Hall of Fame television special, featuring each member of the newest Arena Football Hall of Fame Class, as well as highlights from the induction ceremony and Hall of Fame Game.

Further details on the ceremony and Hall of Fame television special will be announced in the coming weeks.

ABOUT THE SAN JOSE SABERCATS
The ArenaBowl XVI, XVIII and XXI champion San Jose SaberCats finished their 19th season in the AFL with a Pacific Division Title after making their return in 2011. Fans and sponsors can go to sanjosesabercats.com or call 408-673-3400 to sign up to receive the latest news and updates about the SaberCats, as well as to purchase 2015 season tickets. Make sure to follow the SaberCats on Facebook Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news on the team.
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About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2015 season. This season will also be the first with Scott C. Butera leading the way as Commissioner. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
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SaberCats at Las Vegas Outlaws Preview

(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.

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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.

“There are a lot of things to correct from last week,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet. “We’ll go back, look at the film and find ways to improve.”

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.

SaberCats Fall 48-42 in Overtime to the LA KISS

(SAN JOSE, Calif.)- It was an overtime thriller at the SAP Center Saturday night, though the outcome spoiled the festivities for the unbeaten SaberCats. The Los Angeles KISS (2-9) reeled off its second straight win, defeating the San Jose SaberCats (11-1) 48-42.

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As time expired in regulation, Erick Meyer found Reggie Gray for a three-yard touchdown, tying the game 42-42. The dramatic play ignited the SaberCat faithful into a roar and forced overtime. In overtime, San Jose received possession first. KISS linebacker J.T. Gilmore came off the edge, sacking Meyer who left the game hurt on the 3rd down play. Enter Nathan Stanley, who had just one deep pass attempt in the end zone, but was unsuccessful and San Jose turned the ball over on 4th down.

Taking over on downs, Los Angeles scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass from quarterback Danny Southwick to Demarco Sampson for 16 yards. The play was under an official review as Sampson’s toe was near the end line in the back of the end zone; however, he was able to get his foot down, securing the catch and ending the SaberCats win streak at 11 games.

As it has been the case for most of the season, San Jose got on the board first, scoring on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to D.J. Stephens. However, Meyer was sacked five times on the night and threw three interceptions, after throwing just three interceptions in the first 10 games this season. Meyer completed 20-of-42 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns.

“They improved a lot and you got to give them credit,” Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet said about the KISS. “They played hard, but I think we will look at this and say we could have done things a little better.”

Driving down to the six-yard line, the KISS was unable to answer, as the SaberCats’ defense forced a fourth down turnover when Clevan Thomas broke up a pass in the end zone. San Jose was unable to capitalize after Nich Purtuit’s field goal went off the upright and the SaberCats held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.

“This was disappointing,” said Thomas. “Our main thing is winning a championship and all of that is still in front of us.”

Los Angeles evened the score at 7-7 when receiver Austin Franklin hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from Danny Southwick, his first of the season. The SaberCats reeled off 14 straight points on back-to-back Reggie Gray touchdowns of three and 13-yards, taking a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter. Southwick completed 23-of-45 passes for 285 yards and five touchdowns.

Corralling his second three-yard touchdown of the game, Franklin leaped into the boards, hauling in a tough reception, cutting the San Jose lead, 21-14.Trading scores, the SaberCats scored on a 1-yard goal-line run, while the KISS answered, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown by Laron Scott. Meyer was intercepted by Josh Victorian on the last play of the half, as the SaberCats clinging to a slight, 28-21 halftime advantage over the KISS.

Evening the score at 28-28 in the third quarter, the KISS scored on an eight-yard touchdown reception by Donovan Morgan, his 25th of the season. On the following possession, San Jose turned the ball over, fumbling on a screen pass and Los Angeles recovered.

Acquired from the New Orleans Voodoo a few weeks ago, KISS defensive back Rayshaun Kizer had two interceptions, returning one for a 19-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the KISS a 35-28 lead halfway through the fourth quarter.

The resilient SaberCats answered, when Jeremy Kelley hauled in a 10 yard touchdown reception to even the score 35-35 with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter. Kelley finished with six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.

The KISS responded with a Southwick 29-yard TD to Donovan Morgan 42-35 San Jose trailed with 3:37 remaining. Morgan finished with a team-high nine receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. The KISS outscored the SaberCats, 27-14 in the second half (including overtime) and held San Jose scoreless in the third quarter.

“We are going to bounce back from this,” said Kelley. “I don’t think we capitalized on every opportunity we needed to tonight; but sometimes other teams make football plays and that’s what happens. We will get better.”

Offensive Player of the Game: SJ WR Jeremy Kelley
Defensive Player of the Game: LA DB Rayshaun Kizer
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: LA KR Laron Scott
Cutters Catch of the Game: LA WR Demarco Sampson OT TD catch
Highlight of the Game: LA DB Rayshaun Kizer INT for TD

SaberCats vs. LA KISS Game Preview

(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.

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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 Los Angeles 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.

SaberCats Remain Unbeaten with 55-26 win over Shock

(SAN JOSE, Calif.)- The San Jose SaberCats (11-0) remained 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.

“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.”

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.

Late in the first half, Jeremy Kelley hauled in a 7-yard touchdown reception from Meyer, the first of his SaberCat 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 13.5 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.”

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.”

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.

“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.

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

Ken Fontenette Voted Week 10 AFL MVP

(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -The San Jose SaberCats defensive back Ken Fontenette has been voted AFL MVP for Week 10 of the 2015 Arena Football League season.

Fontenette (5-11, 190, Houston) led the SaberCats with 8.5 tackles, three pass breakups, and two interceptions in San Jose’s 61-42 victory over the Portland Thunder in Week 10. The fifth-year pro has recorded an interception in six consecutive games and leads the League with nine picks and 72 tackles on the season.

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Fans had 24 hours to vote for the AFL MVP award on ArenaFootball.com. Fontenette earned 52 percent of the fan vote, beating out fellow defensive back candidates Jeremy Kellem of the Arizona Rattlers and Greg Reid of the Jacksonville Sharks.

Story courtesy of www.arenafootball.com

SaberCats vs. Spokane Shock Game Preview

(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.
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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.

SaberCats Remain No.1 in AFL Power Rankings

(CHICAGO) – The Orlando Predators (6-4) leapfrogged the Cleveland Gladiators (5-5) to move into the No. 4 spot of this week’s AFL Power Rankings, the League office announced on Monday.
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Orlando stunned the Gladiators with a 63-42 win in Cleveland last week. Fullback Michael Simons paced the Predators with four rushing touchdowns to help keep Orlando’s one-game lead over their Week 11 opponents, the Jacksonville Sharks (5-5), in the South Division. The Predators’ matchup in Jacksonville is set for 7:00 p.m. ET Saturday night on CBS Sports Network. Meanwhile, the fifth-ranked Gladiators will look to snap their two-game losing streak this Sunday in their former home as they travel to Las Vegas for a meeting with the 3-6 Outlaws. Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

The San Jose SaberCats (10-0) remained in the top spot of the AFL Power Rankings following a 61-42 divisional win on the road against the Portland Thunder (3-6) last week. The undefeated SaberCats can wrap up the Pacific Division and clinch a playoff berth as early as this weekend if they can take down the Spokane Shock (3-6) and the Thunder lose to the LA KISS (0-9). Kickoff for San Jose’s Week 11 matchup with the Shock is set for 10:30 p.m. ET Friday night on ESPN3.

The No. 2-ranked Philadelphia Soul (9-1) fended off the Las Vegas Outlaws to win the first-ever DraftKings Boardwalk Bowl on CBS Sports Network, 51-43, last week. Wide receiver Marco Thomas scored touchdowns on five of his eight receptions in the game. The Soul host the New Orleans VooDoo (2-8) in an East Division matchup Saturday on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. ET.

The three-time defending ArenaBowl champions and No. 3-ranked Arizona Rattlers stifled the Spokane Shock’s second-half rally with two touchdowns in the final minute to secure a 59-47 road win in “Deaf Valley.” Quarterback Shane Boyd passed for seven touchdowns in his first start for the Rattlers. Arizona hosts the Tampa Bay Storm (4-5) in Week 11. Kickoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET Saturday night on ESPN3.

The AFL Power Rankings are calculated on ArenaFootball.com using a scoring system based on winning percentage, strength of schedule, scoring percentage, and win-streak.

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