SaberCats Crush Soul, 70-33 in Home Opener
Monday March 24, 2014
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats (2-0) made it look easy Sunday evening, beating the Philadelphia Soul (0-2), 70-33, at the SAP Center. The SaberCats scored on every possession, and their defense suffocated the Soul’s offensive attack. Quarterback Nathan Stanley didn’t look like a rookie, completing 18-of-28 passes for 249 yards and six touchdowns. The dynamic duo of wide receivers Reggie Gray and Rod Harper were great, hauling in five receptions for 77 yards and three scores, and six receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns respectively. On defense, defensive back Clevan Thomas stood out, intercepting his first pass of the season and returning it for a score. Fellow defensive back Ken Fontenette also had a big game, leading the team with seven-and-a-half tackles.
“He can really throw the football,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet of his rookie quarterback. “It seems like this game is made for him right now. He is doing a tremendous job.”
Philadelphia wasted no time in getting on the board early. Fullback Derrick Ross, coming off a six touchdown performance in Week 1, put the Soul ahead with an 18-yard touchdown run. The SaberCats would response with points of their own, as Stanley delivered a strike to Harper down the right sideline for a 22-yard touchdown, tying the score at seven all. On the Soul’s next possession, the San Jose defense forced four straight incompletions of Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. With the offense taking over the Soul one yard line, Stanley dove into the end zone, putting the SaberCats up 14-7 after one quarter of play.
Philadelphia would quickly answer the San Jose score, as top wide receiver Anthony ‘Tiger’ Jones snuck behind the defense for a 27-yard touchdown grab. On the next SaberCats possession, Stanley showed off both power and finesse on a 32-yard touchdown completion to Harper, his second of the game, putting San Jose up 21-14. After defensive lineman Jason Stewart recovered a fumble, Stanley connected with wide receiver Huey Whittaker from 20-yards out, putting the SaberCats up 28-14. Philadelphia wouldn’t go away just yet, as Raudabaugh hooked up with wide receiver Ryan McDaniel for a 30-yard score. However, a missed point after attempt kept the score at 28-20 San Jose. The SaberCats would come right back to extend the game to a two-score lead, thanks to a 24-yard sprawling catch into the wall from Gray. The Soul were not done yet, as Jones reached the end zone on a one-yard screen pass as time expired to bring the half time score to 35-27 San Jose.
Coming out of the half time break, the SaberCats turned up the pressure. Stanley connected with Gray for 20 yards to extend the lead to 42-27. After forcing a four and out from Philadelphia, wide receiver Jason Willis snuck into the end zone from one yard out, pushing the lead up to 22 points. On the Soul’s next possession, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Clevan Thomas picked off his first pass of the year and took it 31-yards to the house, putting San Jose up 56-27 after three quarters of play.
The SaberCats continued to play hard as Gray found the end zone for the third time on the evening just six seconds into the fourth. Stanley found him with a beautiful touch pass from five yards out, making it 63-27. After San Jose forced another turnover on downs, they quickly scored again. On consecutive plays, Willis moved the chains on a 16-yard catch, and then ran it right down the middle for a one-yard touchdown. The score gave the SaberCats a 70-27 lead. On their final possession, Philadelphia put a drive together, culminating with a 23-yard touchdown pass to McDaniel, his second of the game. San Jose ran out the clock, sealing the 70-33 victory.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Philadelphia Soul 7 20 0 6 33
San Jose SaberCats 14 21 21 14 70
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: SaberCats QB Nathan Stanley
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: SaberCats DB Ken Fontenette
JLS Playmaker of the Game: SaberCats WR Reggie Gray
Cutters Catch of the Game: Gray diving touchdown catch with 45 seconds left in 2nd Q.
AFL Highlight of the Game: Thomas Pick-6 at 6:33 of the 3rd quarter
ABOUT THE SAN JOSE SABERCATS
The ArenaBowl XVI, XVIII and XXI champion San Jose SaberCats, are in their 18th season in the Arena Football League. Fans and sponsors can go to thesanjosesabercats.com or call 408-673-3400 to sign up to receive the latest news and updates about the SaberCats. Make sure to follow the SaberCats on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news on the team.