Numerous SaberCats Candidates for AFL's Year-End AwardsJuly 18, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) San Jose SaberCats
NET10 Head Coach of the Year candidate: Darren Arbet
Under head coach Darren Arbet, San Jose's offense ranks first in the AFL in total offense (338.1 yards per game), third in scoring (63.5) and second in passing yardage (319.9 yards per game). Defensively, the SaberCats lead the AFL in sacks, where they set the AFL single-season record with 42 (breaking the mark set last season by the Tampa Bay Storm of 41), are second in opponent's fourth down conversions (36.4 percent). Under Arbet and his staff, quarterback Mark Grieb broke franchise single-season records for passing yardage (5,744), passing touchdowns (112), completions (476) and attempts (704). The Hall of Fame Coach is 126-62 in his career and ranks fifth all-time in win percentage (.670) and owns the best postseason winning percentage in league history (.714) at 15-6.
National Guard MVP of the Year; Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Year and All-Arena candidate: QB Mark Grieb
The SaberCats season-long success is due in large part to one of the greatest AFL quarterbacks in league history and all-arena candidate, Mark Grieb. He holds sole possession of the top spot in San Jose's single-season franchise history with 112 touchdowns and 5,744 yards passing, both career highs. Grieb currently leads the league in passing yards and is second in yards per game (319.9). He has thrown for the second most touchdowns (112) in the league, is currently second in total offensive touchdowns (115) and fourth in yards per play (8.1). Grieb threw for 300 or more yards 11 times in 2012 and surpassed the 400 yard plateau on three occasions. Despite San Jose's two-pronged offensive attack (327 rushing yards, 40 rushing touchdowns), Grieb was still able to throw for a career and franchise-best 112 passing scores. Grieb also became the first player in Arena Football League history to throw for 4,000 yards or more in now seven consecutive seasons and has now made an amazing 132 consecutive starts for the SaberCats.
National Guard MVP of the Year; Riddell Defensive Player of the Year; Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year and All-Arena candidate: DL Joe Sykes
SaberCats defensive lineman Joe Sykes burst onto the scene this season and set the AFL's single season sack record with a mind-boggling total of 16.0 in just 17 games played. He had two or more sacks in a game five different times this season, including a single-game franchise record four back on April 28 against the Iowa Barnstormers. The second year player out of Southern was just one component of the dominant defensive front for the SaberCats that sacked their opponents a single-season AFL and franchise record 42 times this season. Sykes added 33.0 total tackles, forced five fumbles and scored in two different ways; bringing an interception back 42-yards for a touchdown and returning a blocked field goal for a score as well.
J. Lewis Small Ironman of the Year and All-Ironman Team candidate: Huey Whittaker (has played WR, LB, DB and Special Teams)
Huey Whittaker did it all for the SaberCats in 2012, bringing memories back to the Ironman days with how effectively he played multiple positions on a regular basis. Whittaker appeared in 12 games at receiver and at the jack linebacker spot, while factoring in on special teams frequently. Offensively, the former South Florida Bull caught 69 passes for 828 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He also factored into the run game, scoring once on 13 carries. The sixth-year veteran earned JLS Ironman of the Week honors twice in 2012 for the AFL and was named JLS Ironman of the Game on six different occasions.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Year; Cutter's Receiver of the Year and All-Arena candidate: WR Samora Goodson
SaberCats wide receiver Samora Goodson was one of only three San Jose offensive players to have appeared in all 18 games (along with Grieb and offensive lineman Mark Lewis) and was Grieb's most reliable target during the 2012 season. Goodson hauled in a career-high 114 passes for 1,471 yards and 27 touchdowns. The former Southeast Missouri State alum scored multiple touchdowns in nine different games as one of a number of targets for the SaberCats. San Jose spread the ball around quite a bit, as five different players had double digit receiving touchdowns, including Goodson.
Avitae Kicker of the Year and All-Arena candidate: K Nich Pertuit
SaberCats kicker Nich Pertuit joined San Jose mid-season and in 13 appearances immediately stabilized a position that had been a trouble spot early in the year. Pertuit connected on 103/114 (90.4%) of his extra point attempts, including a streak of 41 consecutive conversions and played a huge role in the successful recoveries of six onside kick attempts, which ties for the most in the AFL with the Orlando Predators. On top of that, his knack for hitting the bar on kickoffs played a key role in several momentum-shifting plays throughout the course of the season for the SaberCats.
Spalding Offensive Lineman of the Year and All-Arena candidate: OL Manny Akah
Throughout the 2012 campaign, the SaberCats offensive line - anchored by Manny Akah - has done their job in protecting quarterback Mark Grieb. The offensive line only allowed 20 sacks, which currently ranks fifth in all of the AFL. Akah, who came over from the Tampa Bay Storm has only missed one game this season and has been a consistent force in keeping Grieb upright.
All-Arena candidate: WR James Roe
SaberCats franchise record-holder James Roe had another stellar season posting 88 receptions for 977 yards and a team-high 29 touchdowns. In Week 18, he eclipsed a pair of monumental career milestones, surpassing 900 career receptions (now has 905, which ranks sixth all-time) and the 11,000 yard plateau (now has 11,034, which ranks seventh all-time). The former Norfolk State alum posted nine games with two or more touchdowns, in six of which he grabbed a trio of scores. He also moved into sole possession of fourth place in AFL history and first place in SaberCats franchise history with 277 career touchdown receptions.
All-Arena candidate: LB Francis Maka
Linebacker Francis Maka made tremendous strides during his sophomore season with San Jose, establishing himself as one of the premier pass rushers in the league. The San Jose native and Bellarmine College Prep grad pressured opposing quarterbacks throughout the season and accumulated nine total sacks (eight unassisted) which is currently the sixth-best mark in the Arena Football League. He also added 31.5 total tackles, 10.5 of which went for a loss, ranking him fifth in the league in the category. In addition to his knack for coming up with the big play, Maka proved to be one of the most tenacious and gritty players in the league. The Hawaii grad recovered three fumbles (sixth-best in the AFL), forced three more, broke up two passes, recorded two quarterback hurries and blocked one kick in 15 appearances.
All-Arena candidate: DL Tim McGill
SaberCats defensive lineman Tim McGill could be described as the straw that stirs the drink for the SaberCats record-breaking defensive line. The veteran defensive lineman has wreaked havoc on opposing centers throughout the season, helping pave the way for his teammates to get after the quarterback. Aside from creating space for his linemates, McGill has also posted six sacks of his own to go along with eight-and-a-half tackles-for-loss and has blocked a pair of kicks on special teams.
Source One Support Staff of the Year candidate: San Jose SaberCats
The Support Staff of the San Jose SaberCats is comprised of experienced and dedicated members of the front office, including: Communications, Game Operations, Sponsorship Sales, Ticket Sales and Football Operations (Equipment, Training, Medical, Player Personnel and Video) departments. The staff is under the direction of Director of Business Operations Hank Stern. The staff of: Stern, Fred Stephens, David Kobata, Mike Wojcik, Vince Freitas, Mikey Tran, Jennifer Schwarzbach, Jordan Stepp, Jose Martinez, Melissa Tinsley, Sean Carscadden and Greg Panelli - has over 50-plus years of experience in the AFL.
Equipment Manager of the Year candidate: Mike Wojcik
Mike Wojcik is in his second season with the SaberCats, after having spent previous seasons on staff with the Cleveland Gladiators (2010) and Columbus Destroyers (2007-08). Wojcik was a member of the Destroyers' ArenaBowl XXI run, when they fell short to the San Jose SaberCats in 2007. The SaberCats are amongst the best at preparing their players and taking care of any visiting team needs thanks to the efforts and dedication of Wojcik. He graduated from Ohio Dominican University in 2010 with a degree in Sports Management. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and attended St. Edward High School in Cleveland.
Arena Football League Stories from July 18, 2012
- Numerous SaberCats Candidates for AFL's Year-End Awards - San Jose SaberCats
- Shock Welcome Seahawks for Season Finale Appearance - Spokane Shock
- Children Put Smile on Faces of Storm Players - Tampa Bay Storm
- ATI Two-Minute Drill with VooDoo Head Coach Pat O'Hara, Episode 19 - New Orleans VooDoo
- Final Gladiators Game of the Season Marks Fan Appreciation Night - Cleveland Gladiators
- Talons Finish Atop Final Coaches' Poll of Season - AFL
- Soul up for Numerous Year-End League Awards - Philadelphia Soul
- Tampa Bay Storm Re-Launches Surge Fan Club - Tampa Bay Storm
- 21 Questions with VooDoo Doll Brittany - New Orleans VooDoo
- Top 25 Players of 2012: No. 16-20 - AFL
- Sharks Eye Division Title in Regular Season Finale - Jacksonville Sharks
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