Voodoo vs. SaberCats: What to watch for


Voodoo vs. SaberCats: What to watch for

The SaberCats' push for the playoffs continues Saturday night when they host the surprisingly hot New Orleans Voodoo.

Last week in Chicago, in a win-or-go-home matchup with the Rush, San Jose played mistake-free football for only the second time this season and came away with a 75-61 victory. With two games left this year, the SaberCats can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses by Chicago and Spokane.

Here is what to watch for this week:

Voodoo Lounge

The New Orleans Voodoo come to the Cats' Lair riding a three game winning streak that vaulted them into first place in the American Conference South division. Led by a stingy defense that is a staggering 21 in turnover differential, they lead the AFL with 33 interceptions. That mark is also third best in league history. Their main ball thieves are Alvin Ray Jackson who has 12 interceptions, and Jeremy Kellem who has picked off nine.

On offense, quarterback Kurt Rocco has been a gunslinger throwing an average 303 yards per game. That is only bested by San Jose's own Mark Grieb (326), and Utahs Tommy Grady (340). Rocco is also seven touchdowns and 99 yards away from setting franchise records in both categories. He has a link to SaberCats history: Rocco was behind center for the Cleveland Gladiators last season in game that saw San Jose lose by 61 points, 82-21. The loss was not only a franchise worst but was also the second worst defeat in league history. In that game Rocco threw for 235 yards and seven touchdowns. San Jose knows this will not be a walk in the park Saturday night.

As Coach Darren Arbet said this week to Chris Townsend on SaberCats Weekly, Our playoffs started last week in Chicago, this is our second playoff game.
Career Milestones

Mark Grieb is one touchdown pass away from 100 for the season. Grieb has never thrown for more that 100 in a season, and should do so by the end of Saturday nights game. The last two years Grieb has thrown 100 touchdowns (2007 & 2008), San Jose has ended up in the Arena Bowl. Grieb also needs 96 yards to surpass his AFL record of 5,312 passing yards, which he set last season. He is the only player in league history to set back-to-back 5,000 passing yard seasons.

Joe Sykes is still sitting a half sack away from setting the new single season sack record at 16. He is currently tied with teammate Gabe Nyenhuis who set the record of 15.5 sacks back in 2010 while with Tulsa.

Right Said Fred

A new threat for a team with many emerged last week in Chicago. With family and friends in attendance, rookie Fred Williams had arguably the best game ever by a San Jose SaberCat. Williams racked up 269 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns, along with a forced fumble and three solo tackles on special teams. He also scored three receiving touchdowns (on 11 catches for 164 yards) ran in another TD, and on his fifth and final kick return of the night filling in for an injured Rodney Wright, he took it 57 yards for a score. Having that kind of night gets you noticed as Williams was named AFL Ironman of the Week. Look for more of the same this week as he has helped San Jose with its depth during this long stretch of games.
Home Sweet Home

San Jose has two games left on a stretch of 17 straight games. The sliver lining is that they will be at home where they are 6-1. Last weeks win gave San Jose its ninth season of ten or more wins, second in league history only to Orlando's 11.

Since 2000, the SaberCats are No. 1 in most ten-win seasons -- despite not playing in 2009 -- and are an amazing 78-12 at home. If San Jose wins out and Arizona losses their remaining three games, the SaberCats will clinch the West Division and the No. 2 seed in the National Conference. Protect their home turf and San Jose will be in a prime position to play for an Arena Bowl Title.

AFL announces SaberCats ownership pulling out of league


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


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