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SaberCats Claw Past VooDoo

Sunday April 28, 2013

NEW ORLEANS (April 27, 2013) – The New Orleans VooDoo (1-4) drop their fourth straight as they fall to the San Jose SaberCats (3-2) 57-38 in front of a crowd of 4,357 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night.

VooDoo quarterback Zack Eskridge got the start ahead of the injured Kurt Rocco, and he struggled out of the gate. Eskridge threw three straight incomplete passes on the team’s first possession, leading to a missed field goal. The VooDoo took over after the SaberCats fumbled deep in New Orleans territory, but Eskridge tossed an interception to San Jose linebacker Huey Whittaker, who returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. The VooDoo added three to make it a 7-3 ballgame. The VooDoo scored 14 straight points in the second quarter as kick returned Quorey Payne rattled of a 57-yard return for a touchdown, the second consecutive week he has done that. The VooDoo then recorded a safety, but Eskridge was picked off again on the ensuing possession, this time in the end zone. The VooDoo defense struck back as defensive back Eddie Moten grabbed his third interception of the season. Eskridge later found Duvault for a nine yard score to make it 17-14.

San Jose countered with a 47-yard touchdown, a one-play drive, from quarterback Russ Michna to receiver Jamarko Simmons to retake the lead 21-17. The SaberCats successfully executed an onside kick after challenging the original call of illegal touching. The Cats turned that into a nine yard score from Michna to Whittaker to take a 28-17 halftime lead. Michna was efficient tonight, completing 23 of 35 passes for 312 yards and six touchdowns.

San Jose kept the pedal down as Michna found receiver Fred Williams on another one-play scoring drive, this one a 45-yarder for the touchdown. The SaberCats added a safety as Eskridge was charged with intentional grounding in the end zone. San Jose turned it over on downs and Eskridge helped cut the lead to 37-24 after a 1-yard touchdown run. Payne nearly broke off another return for a touchdown but was cut down at the San Jose 23 yard line. Eskridge was knocked out of the game after a roughing the passer penalty on San Jose. Eskridge finished the night 7-18 for 67 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Newly acquired quarterback Bill Stull checked into the game for New Orleans and led the way 8-14 for 97 yards and a touchdown. Simmons would find the end zone once more on a 1-yard run, and Michna connected with receiver Fred Williams for a touchdown to keep the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Stull’s lone touchdown pass was to Courtney Smith as time expired.

VooDoo fans were treated to the team’s throwback purple uniforms. The team opted to go with the purple because of popular demand from fans and as a way to kick off their six-game stint of home games in the Superdome. But the purple jersey magic wasn’t enough.

New Orleans begins a three-game road trip against Tampa Bay, Iowa, and Spokane before they return home on May 25 to take on Chicago.
Score by quarters: 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
San Jose 7 21 15 14 57
New Orleans 3 14 7 14 38

Media Awards:

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Russ Michna, QB/SJ
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Clevan Thomas, DB/SJ
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Huey Whittaker, WR/LB/SJ
Cutters Catch of the Game – Chris Duvault (WR/NO) 9-yard TD catch, 2nd quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game – Whittaker 10-yard interception return TD

About the New Orleans VooDoo

The New Orleans VooDoo will play in the New Orleans Arena, an SMG managed facility directly across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Single game tickets for VooDoo regular season home games are on sale now by calling 504-875-3900. For more information call (888) 277-5526 for Vice President and Director of Operations, Jason Coffel. The game is on Rush Radio 99.5, WRNO and on the worldwide web at www.wrno.com as well as on Cox 4 in the New Orleans area, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The week following each COX game fans can watch replays on CST. To shop all things VooDoo, visit www.voodoostuff.com and get your gear today.

About the AFL

Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased their fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. CBS Sports Network will broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week on Saturday nights for the entire regular season and postseason through the semifinal round. The ArenaBowl XXVI Championship Game will air on the CBS Television Network on August 17, 2013.