SaberCats fall to Rattlers in final seconds, 64-57

June 19, 2011, 6:36 am
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PHOENIX, AZ The SaberCats suffered their sixth consecutive loss at the hands of the Arizona Rattlers, 64-57, after Arizona scored with 10 seconds remaining on a QB Nick Davila pass to former SaberCat WRDB Jason Geathers in front of 9,397 at US Airways Center. QB Mark Grieb threw for 285 yards on 26-of-40 passing (65.0) and six touchdowns in the defeat.

OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet thought his team gave a maximum effort in another tough loss for the SaberCats, The guys played hard. We had a lot of new faces. I thought they gave me everything they had tonight. We just came up a little short.

The Arizona defense proved to be tough on the opening drive forcing Mark Grieb into an interception that they turned into seven points on a QB Nick Davila 12-yard touchdown pass to WR Kerry Reed. On the ensuing kickoff, recently signed LB Chris Vedder returned the kickoff 56 yards for a touchdown on only his second career return in the AFL tying it at seven a piece.

Following one of former SaberCat Jason Geathers four touchdowns, WR James Roe caught his second touchdown pass of the season, playing in his first game since May 14. Rattlers DB Virgil Gray returned the ball 58 yards for a touchdown on the following drive before QB Mark Grieb found Ben Nelson for San Joses next two scores. QB Nick Davila kept the pressure on with Geathers accounting for the Rattlers final points of the half. After the two teams exchanged onside kick attempts, QB Mark Grieb hit WR Marco Thomas to send the game into the half tied at 35.

San Jose came out of the gates quickly as DB Dwight Mclean forced a FB Odie Armstrong fumble, recovered by 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Gabe Nyenhuis. FBLB Chad Cook found paydirt, punching it in for his 26th rushing touchdown of the season, carrying defenders into the end zone for the score. Arizona drove to the San Jose one-yard line on the following drive, but the SaberCats stuffed the Rattlers on four consecutive plays for an impressive goal line stand. WR James Roe showed his sure hands in the red zone once again, making an impressive catch into the pads putting the team up by two scores at 49-35. On the ensuing kickoff, DB Virgil Gray returned the kickoff for a touchdown, his second of the game, making it 49-42 heading into the fourth quarter.

With the SaberCats driving, a fumbled snap gave the Rattlers the ball back and they tied the game at 49 when QB Nick Davila found WR Kerry Reed for 23-yard score. Arizona forced San Jose to turn the ball over on downs and with 1:07 remaining WR Rod Windsor caught his first touchdown of the game, putting the Rattlers up 56-49. Needing a score, QB Mark Grieb found WR Ben Nelson for a 26-yard touchdown. OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet went with a two-point conversion and WR James Roe made a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone, giving the SaberCats the lead with 23 seconds remaining at 57-56. The Rattlers found the end zone for the final time, putting Arizona up 64-57 following a successful two-point conversion to seal the victory.

The SaberCats were led by WR Marco Thomas who posted 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in his first game for San Jose. LB Chris Vedder became the first SaberCats rookie to return a kick for a touchdown since DB Trestin George returned a kick 56 yards against the Utah Blaze on April 28, 2007. QB Mark Grieb now sits 17 touchdowns shy of 800 for his career after his effort tonight while WR James Roe is 443 receiving yards shy of 10,000 for his career.

San Jose (5-8) travels to Cleveland for their the first time in franchise history where they will take on the Gladiators (7-5) as San Jose looks to move to 5-8 on the year. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and KLIV-1590 starting at 4:00 p.m. PDT.

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