Ken Fontenette and Reggie Gray: The SaberCats' Dynamic Duo
When it comes to the San Jose SaberCats' success throughout the 2015 season, credit can certainly be granted to essentially every component of their roster and coaching staff. But it is safe to say that the statistical defensive and offensive leaders, defensive back Ken Fontenette and wide receiver Reggie Gray, are primary factors toward San Jose's 14-1 record.
With 121.5 tackles throughout the 2015 season as of Friday night's matchup against the New Orleans VooDoo, Fontenette has officially made his individual mark in franchise history with the most tackles in a single season by a SaberCat.
"It's obviously a great honor, especially for this franchise," Fontenette said when asked about his significant record. "But it's all about the team. It's all about winning. These players have sacrificed their personal success for this team, which is really what it is all about."
Along with Ken Fontenette's 17.5 tackles, the defense as a whole executed and held the VooDoo to just 35 points on Friday night. Two New Orleans drives in the first quarter reached San Jose's side of the field, but key interceptions by Clevan Thomas and Fred Obi catapulted the SaberCats to an early 14-0 lead despite more statistical yardage by the VooDoo in the first quarter.
"The coaches do a great job going over situational football every day during practice," Fontenette explained when asked about the defense's execution in creating turnovers at key moments. "Going over different points in the games and the plays that the opposing offense might run, we can anticipate certain things that might come."
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Erik Meyer went 23-of-30 for 229 yards and seven touchdowns, and Gray led the receiving corps with nine receptions for 92 yards and four touchdowns. With 133 receptions for 1,441 yards and 37 touchdowns throughout the 2015 season, Gray is close to making his own set of marks in the SaberCats' history book. With three games left to play, he trails the single-season franchise record for receptions by one (Rodney Wright Jr.'s 134 receptions in 2008), the single-season franchise record for most receiving touchdowns by three (James Roe's 40 touchdowns in 2007), and the single-season franchise record for receiving yards by 165 (Jason Willis' 1,606 yards in 2013). Gray has a probable chance at topping all three records, each of which is held by a different figure in SaberCats history.
"There's three games left. Maybe I'll get there," Gray said when asked about his personal performance. "But as long as we get the 'W', that's all that matters. There's no satisfaction otherwise."
Indeed, not only are both Gray and Fontenette on the edge of franchise history from individual standpoints, but they both admit that their number one focus is the team's success as a whole, a true mindset needed in order to reach a championship.
But of course, their individual performances can't go unnoticed. They have both contributed significantly to the SaberCats' success, and hopefully it will continue into the postseason.