SaberCats celebrate Kirton, trounce lowly Predators

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SaberCats celebrate Kirton, trounce lowly Predators

SAN JOSE -- On a night where Johnie Kirtons life was celebrated, the San Jose SaberCats (9-4) got back to their winning ways defeating the Orlando Predators (1-11) by a score of 51-34 in front of 9,345 fans at HP Pavilion. The Cats defense was the story of the game, causing three turnovers, tallying three sacks, and forcing four fumbles. Defensive lineman Joe Sykes made franchise history with a pair of sacks, passing Arena Football League Hall of Famer Sam Hernandez (12 in 2000) for the single season sack record, as he now has 13 on the year, which leads the AFL.

The pass rush was getting to the quarterback and the defensive backs took it personally and did a good job tonight covering their guys, said OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet. Each game is important, its crunch time now and were in that situation where we need to win and get better as a football team and let everything fall into place. We need to do a consistent job and believe in our team.

It was a tail of two plays in the first half, as SaberCats defensive lineman Gabe Nyenhuis stopped Predators quarterback Chris Leak just short of the goal line on fourth down, and a missed extra point by Orlando sent the SaberCats into the locker room with a 31-27 lead after hitting their first field goal of the year.

In the second half San Joses defense absolutely smothered the Predators, allowing only seven points and forcing three second half turnovers. The SaberCats had an impromptu sack party tallying three sacks and forcing Leak to keep his head on a swivel.

SaberCats quarterback Mark Grieb was solid, completing 20-30 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receivers Huey Whittaker and Samora Goodson carried the bulk of the load for the San Jose. Whittaker caught eight balls for 124 yards, two touchdowns as well as a rushing score, while also earning Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game honors and the JLS Ironman award. Goodson finished with five catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense provided consistent play, coming up with key stops throughout the evening. The main man behind the madness was Sykes. He was the catalyst behind the defensive dominance, having a career night which included: five tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a spectacular one-handed interception that he returned 42-yards for a touchdown. The dominant performance also won Sykes five-out-of seven game awards, including: National Guard MVP, Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, AFL Playmaker of the Game, Cutters Catch of the Game, and Spalding Highlight of the game. Not a bad pull for one outing. Defensive back LaBrose Hedgemon also performed well in his first game as a member of the SaberCats, recording nine-and-a-half tackles, which led the team, as well as two pass breakups.

For the Orlando offense it was a forgettable performance. The team only scored seven second half points, being shut down every time it threatened the end zone. Leak finished 25-47 for 316 yards and five touchdowns. The leading receivers for Orlando were; Glen Fox who caught nine balls for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Jarvis Williams who also caught nine balls for 100 yards and three scores.

Orlandos defense played well, holding San Jose to only 51 points and were led by Simeon Castille who recorded six-and-a-half tackles, a pass breakup and two interceptions. Defensive lineman Richard Clebert also chipped in with a tackle and a sack.

Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services

AFL announces SaberCats ownership pulling out of league

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AFL announces SaberCats ownership pulling out of league

LAS VEGAS -– Arena Football League Commissioner Scott Butera announced today that, for reasons unrelated to League operations, the owners of the San Jose Sabercats have notified him that they will no longer continue as members of the AFL.

Butera said that the League is working to secure a new long-term owner for the storied franchise, which played its first Arena game in 1995. He also extended the AFL’s deep appreciation to the SaberCats ownership group for all the contributions they have made to Arena Football.

“We have a remarkably loyal fan base in the San Jose area and we are working aggressively to secure new ownership for the franchise as soon as possible,” Butera said. “In the process of rebuilding, there is an evolution that brings change and growth. In the coming months, we will reveal a strategic growth plan for the AFL, including completion of agreements with a number of expansion opportunities.”

AFL media services 

SaberCats return 2012 leading receiver Samora Goodson

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SaberCats return 2012 leading receiver Samora Goodson

SAN JOSE -- The SaberCats announced today that they have been assigned 2012s leading wide receiver Samora Goodson on a two-year contract. Goodson had a breakout season last year, his third in San Jose. The Arena Football Leagues free agency period for exclusive negotiations with players from a teams 2012 roster opened on Monday, Oct. 15 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 4.

"Bringing our leading receiver back from a year ago certainly bolsters our receiving corps," OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet stated regarding the addition. "Samora is a very talented, proven receiver who has exhibited big-play ability at this level.

Goodson (6-3, 205, SE Missouri State) appeared in all 18 games for the SaberCats in 2012, where he led the team in all receiving statistical categories but touchdowns. He caught a career-high 114 passes for 1,471 yards and 27 scores as he paced a deep stable of SaberCats receivers on the way to a 12-6 season and playoff berth. Goodson also proved his worth on special teams, as he recorded 12 total tackles (ten solo) on kickoff coverage.

The Hayward, Calif. native appeared in seven games for San Jose in 2011, after his season was cut short due to injury. He posted 46 receptions for 630 yards and 12 touchdowns in the teams first season back since 2008. Goodson was a member of the SaberCats practice squad in the 2008 regular season and made the postseason roster in a year that saw San Jose fall in ArenaBowl XXII to the Philadelphia Soul. In between these two stints, Goodson played for the San Jose Wolves of the AIFA (Arena Football Indoor Association) in 2010.

Prior to his professional career the Californian played two seasons at Southeast Missouri State, where he tallied 37 receptions for 439 yards and four touchdowns in 22 appearances for the Redhawks. He transferred to Southeast Missouri State from Citrus Community College (Glendora, Calif.), where he earned All-Western State Conference and all-state honors.

Transaction: SaberCats are assigned WR Samora Goodson on a two-year contract.

Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services