SaberCats top Soul 68-61 on last-minute score

SaberCats top Soul 68-61 on last-minute score
April 23, 2011, 6:54 am
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April 22, 2011SABERCATSPAGE

SAN JOSE In a rematch of ArenaBowl XXII, the SaberCats (5-2) earned a 68-61 victory over the Philadelphia Soul (1-5) for their third consecutive win. San Jose never trailed in the game as MVP of the Game QB Mark Grieb passed for 221 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another in the win for his 100th career regular season victory with the SaberCats before 8,663 fans at HP Pavilion.OwnerHead Coach Darren Arbet was glad to come out on the winning end and was pleased to see his team continue to come together. I thought the guys played hard, they hung in there and they found a way to win the football game. Were starting to grow as a team and hopefully we continue to grow and get better.The game began with the San Jose defense picking up where they left off in Tulsa, forcing the Soul into a missed field goal that SaberCats WRDB Mervin Brookins returned 29 yards. Four plays later, FBLB Chad Cook scored on a four-yard run, his 15th rushing touchdown of the season. Philadelphia answered when QB Justin Allgood found Offensive Player of the Game WR Donovan Morgan in the back of the end zone to even the score at seven. The SaberCats responded quickly, needing just three plays to regain a seven point lead on a 27-yard touchdown pass from QB Mark Grieb to WR Nichiren Flowers and taking a 14-7 lead into the start of the second quarter.After the Soul got within a point, it took Grieb just one play to find Ironman of the Game WR Chido Nwokocha downfield for a 45-yard touchdown, the longest reception of his career. Philadelphia again closed within one point when WRKR Keith Stokes recovered a fumble forced by San Jose DB Jamario ONeal in the end zone, ONeals second forced fumble in as many games. The Cats advanced to the Philadelphia one-yard line on a connection from Grieb to Flowers, and two plays later Flowers found the end zone on a one-yard touchdown run. K Juan Gamboa capped off San Joses scoring with a career-long 38-yard field goal as the Cats took a 31-20 lead into the half.A six-yard touchdown pass from Grieb to Flowers and an ONeal interception return for a touchdown gave the Cats a 45-20 lead midway through the third period. San Jose FBLB Matt Castelo finished a defensive stand by the SaberCats, sacking Soul QB Ryan Vena and forcing a turnover on downs. Following a Grieb interception, Philadelphia scored to cut the lead to 45-27 at the end of the third quarter.Grieb found Nwokocha for a diving catch over the boards in the corner of the end zone to put the Cats up 52-27 to start the fourth quarter. A Philadelphia touchdown brought the Soul within 18, but Cook found the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the game, extending his season-long streak of consecutive games with two touchdowns to seven. Philadelphia WR Donovan Morgan hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game to cut the San Jose lead to 59-41. Two touchdowns by the Soul cut the lead to single digits at 62-54 with 47 seconds remaining in the game. The teams traded touchdowns in the final minute for a final score of 68-61.Grieb earned his 100th career regular season victory last week over Tulsa, following it up with his 100th win with the SaberCats on Friday night. DB Jamario ONeal had his first career interception and interception return for a touchdown in the game. San Jose defenders were a regular presence in the Philadelphia backfield as they applied pressure throughout the game on both Soul quarterbacks.San Jose (5-2) heads into their first bye week before hosting the Arizona Rattlers (5-0) in Week 9 at HP Pavilion on Saturday, May 7th at 7:30 p.m. The game will feature the top two teams in the West Division with the SaberCats leading the all-time regular season series 15-14.

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