San Jose SaberCats press release
SAN JOSE, Calif. — It was an overtime thriller at the SAP Center Saturday night, as the LA KISS (2-9) recorded the biggest win in franchise history and possibly the greatest upset in Arena Football history, knocking off the previously unbeaten San Jose Sabercats (11-1), 48-42. The game marks the first-time in team history LA has won back-to-back games and snaps the KISS’ 14-game road losing streak, the second-longest streak of its kind in AFL history.
As time expired in regulation, Erick Meyer found Reggie Gray for a three-yard touchdown, tying the game 42-42. The dramatic play ignited the SaberCat faithful into a roar and forced overtime. In overtime, San Jose received possession first. KISS linebacker JT Gilmore came off the edge, sacking Meyer who left the game hurt on the 3rd down play. Enter Nathan Stanley, who had just one deep pass attempt in the end zone, but was unsuccessful and San Jose turned the ball over on 4th down.
Taking over on downs, LA scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass from quarterback Danny Southwick to DeMarco Sampson for 16 yards. The play was under an official review as Sampson’s toe was near the end line in the back of the end zone; however, he was able to get his foot down, securing the catch and ending the SaberCats win streak at 11 games.
As it has been the case for most of the season, San Jose got on the board first, scoring on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to D.J. Stephens. However, Meyer was sacked five times on the night and threw three interceptions, after throwing just three interceptions in the first 10 games this season. Meyer completed 20-of-42 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns.
“They improved a lot and you got to give them credit,” Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet said about the KISS. “They played hard, but I think we will look at this and say we could have done things a little better.”
Driving down to the six-yard line, the KISS was unable to answer, as the SaberCats’ defense forced a fourth down turnover when Clevan Thomas broke up a pass in the end zone. San Jose was unable to capitalize after Nich Purtuit’s field goal went off the upright and the SaberCats held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
“This was disappointing,” said Thomas. “Our main thing is winning a championship and all of that is still in front of us.”
LA evened the score at 7-7 when receiver Austin Franklin hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass fromDanny Southwick, his first of the season. The SaberCats reeled off 14 straight points on back-to-backReggie Gray touchdowns of three and 13-yards, taking a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter. Southwick completed 23-of-45 passes for 285 yards and five touchdowns.
Grabbing his second three-yard touchdown of the game, Franklin leaped into the boards, hauling in a tough reception, cutting the San Jose lead, 21-14.Trading scores, the SaberCats scored on a 1-yard goaline run, while the KISS answered, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown by Laron Scott. Meyer was intercepted by Josh Victorian on the last play of the half, as the SaberCats clinging to a slight, 28-21 halftime advantage over the KISS.
Evening the score at 28-28 in the third quarter, the KISS scored on an eight-yard touchdown reception by Donovan Morgan, his 25th of the season. On the following possession, San Jose turned the ball over, fumbling on a screen pass and Los Angeles recovered.
Acquired from the New Orleans VooDoo a few weeks ago, KISS defensive back Rayshaun Kizer had two interceptions, returning one for a 19-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the KISS a 35-28 lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
The resilient SaberCats answered, when Jeremy Kelley hauled in a 10 yard touchdown reception to even the score 35-35 with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter. Kelley finished with six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.
The KISS responded with a Southwick 29-yard TD to Donovan Morgan 42-35 San Jose trailed with 3:37 remaining. Morgan finished with a team-high nine receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. The KISS outscored the SaberCats, 27-14 in the second half (including overtime) and held San Jose scoreless in the third quarter.
“We are going to bounce back from this,” said Kelley. “I don’t think we capitalized on every opportunity we needed to tonight; but sometimes other teams make football plays and that’s what happens. We will get better.”
Offensive Player of the Game: SJ WR Jeremy Kelley
Defensive Player of the Game: LA DB Rayshaun Kizer
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: LA KR Laron Scott
Cutters Catch of the Game: LA WR DeMarco Sampson’s game-winning TD
Highlight of the Game: LA DB Rayshaun Kizer INT for TD