San Jose SaberCats defeat Arizona Rattlers, 56-34
Sunday May 3, 2015
(Phoenix, AZ)- In the other fight of the night in the desert, The San Jose SaberCats (6-0) defeated the Arizona Rattlers (4-2) 56-34, in a National Conference showdown.
The intensity of the players further solidified the notion that this is the best rivalry in the Arena Football League. The pace of the game was set immediately, with three plays in the first two minutes resulting in three touchdowns.
After SaberCats receiver D.J. Stephens hauled in a 33-yard touchdown catch to open the game, A.J. Cruz and Reggie Gray each returned the following kickoffs for a touchdown. Gray also had another kick return touchdown called back due to a holding penalty late in the first quarter. He finished with six receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
San Jose quarterback Erik Meyer left with an injury in the third quarter after getting pinned under a pile and hit by Arizona defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne. Similar to last year when Russ Michna suffered a broken collarbone, Nathan Stanley came in at quarterback to lead the SaberCats. Meyer completed 12-of-31 passes for 182 yards and five touchdowns and Stanley threw two touchdowns in relief.
With Nick Davila, the reigning AFL MVP out with a toe injury, B.J. Coleman made his first career start in place of him. A seventh round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2012, Coleman threw two interceptions and completed 17-of-38 passes for 191 yards with three touchdowns.
One of the leading receivers in the league, Rod Windsor grabbed a 14-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 27-27 late in the second quarter. Even without his starting quarterback Windsor was effective and led all receivers with 10 receptions for 95 yards.
After recovering an onside kick, the SaberCats answered with a Rich Ranglin 7-yard touchdown reception to give San Jose a 34-27 halftime lead, which they never relinquished. Wide receiver Adron Tennell caught two touchdown passes and led San Jose with six receptions for 88 yards.
The SaberCats dominant defense continues to be a key to success this season. With Ken Fontenette, the league leader in tackles, grabbing an interception for the second straight week, both Clevan Thomas and Eric Crocker adding one as well and Francis Maka recording a quarterback sack that resulted in a safety, San Jose held Arizona under 200 yards of offense. Both defenses recorded two sacks each as the pass rush for the SaberCats and Rattles dominated the trenches.
These two rivals will meet again on Friday, July 31st, this time at the SAP Center in week 19.
-The San Jose SaberCats will be back at home next Saturday, May 9th as they host the Las Vegas Outlaws in a rematch of the season opener.
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.