Despite Duvalt's Career-Night VooDoo Fall to SaberCats
Saturday July 11, 2015
SAN JOSE - Despite a career effort by wide receiver Chris Duvalt, and a never-say-die attitude by the VooDoo offense the San Jose SaberCats (14-1) held off New Orleans VooDoo (2-12) 56-35 on Friday night at the SAP Center in front of an announced crowd of 9,321.
Trailing 42-14 with 4;49 to play in the third quarter New Orleans showed why ESPN2 color analyst Anthony Herron referred them as the "scrappiest team in the league this season". Adam Kennedy took a big hit from a SaberCat defender, but completed a 14-yard dart over the middle to Johnny Lester for a score, cutting the deficit to 21 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
San Jose seemed to grab momentum back quickly as Reggie Gray took the ensuing kickoff back 28 yards, and a New Orleans offsides penalty placed the ball on the New Orleans 18 yard-line. The VooDoo defense wouldn't quit however - nose guard Benji McDowell came up the middle for a ten-yard sack, and stripped Erik Meyer of the ball, which newcomer defensive end Dominie Pittman recovered giving the VooDoo life early in the fourth quarter.
Adam Kennedy's fourth down pass would fall just out of the reach of Chris Duvalt, before Erik Meyer and the SaberCat offense would strike quickly, going 27 yards in just two plays, capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass to Gray, extending the SaberCat lead to 49-21.
Again the VooDoo would respond. After a roughing the kicker penalty on Luis Vasquez gave New Orleans a first down following a missed field, the VooDoo would march down to the San Jose 19 yard-line. Facing third and five, Kennedy found Charles McClain, who danced around a defender and walked in untouched from 19 yards out with 3:38 to play, again cutting the deficit to 21.
Following another Meyer to Gray touchdown with 2:43 to play, Kennedy and the VooDoo offense would strike again. Moving quickly, Kennedy would lead the VooDoo 43 yards in just five plays and 31 seconds, ending the night's scoring with a six yard touchdown pass to Chris Duvalt with just 19 seconds to play.
Duvalt finished the night with a career-high in catchs (15), yards (162) and matched career-high set in touchdowns set earlier this season with three, including an over-the-wall touchdown catch in the second quarter, while quarterback Kennedy shook off a pair of early interceptions to finish his night 30-of-44 for 296 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively New Orleans was led by Pittman who finished with three tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in his VooDoo debut. Defensive backs Tracy Belton and Cameron McGlenn each finished with 5.5 tackles.
San Jose was led by quarterback Erik Meyer who finished 23-of-30 for 229 yards and seven touchdowns, and wide receiver/return man Reggie Gray who finished with nine catches for 92 yards with four touchdowns, and four kickoff returns for 114 yards. Defensively for the SaberCats defensive back Ken Fontenette finished with a game-high 17.5 tackles and a pair of passes broken up.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: QB Erik Meyer (SJS) – 23-of-30, 229 yards, eight total touchdowns.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: DB Ken Fontenelle (SJS) – 17.5 tackles, two passes broken up.
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: WR/KR Reggie Gray (SJS) – 13 touches, 206 yads, four touchdowns.
Cutters Catch of the Game: WR Ben Nelson (SJS) - 25 Yard Touchdown Pass from Meyer - 5:36 3RD
AFL Highlight of the Game: OL/TE Rich Ranglin (SJS) - 13-yard screen pass touchdown reception - 3:48 2ND