SAN JOSE -- The San Jose SaberCats (7-3) took down division rival Spokane Shock (5-5) 52-34 at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane on Friday night in front of 8,579 fans. This was the first time in last five meetings the SaberCats beat the Shock, and in the process held them to an all-time low 34 points scored during a home game. In extending the win streak to five games, wide receiver Dominique Curry had a huge night offensively, registering three touchdowns (two receiving and one on the ground) and wide receiver Reggie Gray made an impressive return to the lineup, hauling in eight catches for 83 yards and one score.
Opening the night with the ball, the Shock failed to get anything going on their first drive. Thanks to a sack by defensive tackle Jason Stewart, Spokane was forced to try a field goal from their own zone, and proceeded to intentionally kick the ball out of bounds. Taking over at 18-yard line, the SaberCats offense wasted little time, as on one play Michna connected with wide receiver Jason Willis on a 32-yard pass to go up 7-0 early. On the next Shock possession, newly acquired quarterback Brian Zbydniewski brought the Spokane offense inside the San Jose five yard line, only to be intercepted by defensive back Ken Fontenette in the end zone. Getting the ball back at the one-yard line, Michna moved to offense down the field, with the possession resulting in a one-yard touchdown run from fullback Odie Armstrong, putting the SaberCats up 14-0. Spokane would finally dent the score board as Zbydniewski connected with wide receiver Brandon Thompkins, but a missed extra point kept the San Jose lead at 14-6.
Starting the second quarter, Michna found Gray for a clutch fourth down conversion, and Armstrong would find pay dirt once again, this time from two-yards out, to put San Jose up 21-6. On the next Spokane possession, Zbydniewski was intercepted in the end zone for the second time, this time by legendary defensive back Clevan Thomas. The SaberCats offense couldn’t deliver on the extra possession, as they stalled out at the Shock 11-yard line. Manufacturing a drive in the final minute of the half, Zbydniewski kept it himself from four-yards out to close the San Jose lead to 21-13. With 3.3 seconds remaining on the clock, Michna lobbed up a deep pass, and it was hauled in by Curry with no time remaining to give the SaberCats a 28-13 half time lead.
Opening the third quarter with the ball, Michna wasted little time in extending the SaberCats lead, finding Curry from 12-yards out to push the margin to 22 points. Spokane would answer right back, as Zbydniewski ran in his second touchdown of the night to bring the score to 35-20 in favor of San Jose. Curry would once again find the end zone for the SaberCats, as he bulldozed his way into the end zone on four-yard run to put San Jose back up by 22.
After a 29-yard pass to Thompkins brought the ball down to the SaberCats one-yard line, the Shock offense couldn’t punch in that final yard and turned the ball over on downs early in the fourth quarter. Looking to make good on the extra possesion, the SaberCats offense turned the ball over on downs as well. Spokane would make no mistake with the short field, as Zbydniewski spotted wide receiver Rashaad Carter open in the end zone for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 42-27. After a failed onside kick attempt, Michna used the short field to his advantage, finding Gray streaking across the end zone for the touchdown. Zbydniewski would reach the end zone on the ground once again, this time on a fourth down attempt, to cut the lead to 49-34 with just over a minute remaining. After another failed onside kick attempt from Spokane, kicker Nich Pertuit tacked on a field goal for a final score of 52-34.
Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services