SABERCATS Fend off the Sharks with 68-48 road victory
Friday April 17, 2015
AFL All-Time leading rusher, fullback Derrick Ross bulldozed his way into the end zone on the first drive to give the Sharks an early 7-0 lead. Ross, who was acquired for the Philadelphia Soul this off-season, continued to be focal point for the offense. He finished with 11 rushes for 35 yards and a season-high four touchdowns. Ross continues to be the go-to player within the five yard line of the red zone for Jacksonville. On the night, he also eclipsed a milestone with his 150th rushing touchdown for his AFL career.
Continuing his impact play, jack linebacker David Hyland snuffed out a pass play and picked off the Tommy Grady pass at the Jacksonville seven yard line, his second interception of the season. Hyland continues to excess at the jack linebacker spot for San Jose and led the team in tackles with 14. Reggie Gray was able to extend the San Jose lead to 14-7, after hauling in a five yard touchdown reception. As the SaberCats leading receiver this season, “Big Play” Reggie Gray finished with nine receptions for 80 yards and three touchdowns.
As the Arena Football League’s leading receiver, Anthony “Tiger” Jones demonstrated his abilities early an often. Jones finished with seven receptions for 100 yards, but was unable to add to his league-high 10 receiving touchdowns.
SaberCats quarterback Erik Meyer threw for a season –high eight touchdowns, completing 19-of-30 completions for 246 yards.
Odie Armstrong, an avid Madden video gamer, pressed the B-button on the Xbox (O on the PlayStation) and spun into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown run, to give San Jose a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. Armstrong added to his rushing touchdown total with five on the season.
With his return to the starting lineup, SaberCats’ receiver Adron Tennell, the 2013 AFL Wide Receiver of the Year, made an immediate impact. He finished with five receptions for 65 yards and four of those going for touchdowns.
In the Second quarter, Sharks’ receiver Joe Hills hauled in multiple receptions, matriculating the offense down to the goaline, with Ross able to do what he does best and rumble in for a one-yard touchdown run to cut the SaberCats lead to 21-14. Hills led the Sharks with 14 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.
After a great performance in his first game as a SaberCat last week, receiver D.J. Stephens continued to shine for San Jose. Stephens caught a 33-yard pass from Meyer and was brought down just a yard shy of the end zone. Unfortunately, defensive end Joe Skyes, a member of the SaberCats last season, jumped in on a botched snap and forced a fumble that was eventually recovered by Jacksonville. Following the fumble recovery, Jones sacrificed life and limb to haul in a 30-yard reception while flying over the boards to set up a Ross touchdown run.
With a Darius Reynolds reception bringing the SaberCats down to the four yard line, Meyer found Gray in the end zone on fourth down, as San Jose led 28-24 at halftime.
Following a Joe Hills touchdown reception by the Sharks, Gray was able to grab the kickoff and returned it 58-yards for a touchdown, the first on the season for San Jose, who responded immediately and pushed out to a 48-38 fourth quarter lead.
It did not take long for Jacksonville to answer, as receiver Jerod Harvery grabbed an 18-yard touchdown, his first touchdown reception of the season to make it a 48-45 San Jose lead.
With eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Meyer found Stephens in the back of the end zone. In his second game with San Jose, Stephens finished with three receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, SaberCats defensive end Donte Paige-Moss was able to recover the ball off of the uprights to provide the San Jose offense with the ball at the eight yard line. The recovery was culminated by a Gray touchdown reception to give the SaberCats a 62-45 with 3:46 remaining.
A late interception by defensive back Erik Crocker sealed the win for San Jose, who will be back at home in the SAP Center to host the Portland Thunder on Saturday April, 25th.
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 and Twitter for all the latest news on the team.