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Command Corral SaberCats in Kansas City

June 17, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Kansas City Command News Release

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Quarterback Zack Eskridge got his first start for Kansas City on Father's Day providing a much needed spark for the Command. Eskridge led the team to its third win in five games, finishing with 183 yards passing, 17 yards rushing; tossing three touchdowns, and rushing for another two in front of 4,258 fans at Sprint Center. The Command (3-10) went on to beat the second ranked San Jose SaberCats (9-5) in Kansas City.

"It felt great," exclaimed winning quarterback Eskridge. "I knew it was going to take me a little while to get acclimated. Once I started to get a feel for it, the speed of the game, then I started to settle down and it was good."

The first half saw the Command and SaberCats trade scores. With 13:25 left in the second quarter, KC Special Teams pinned San Jose on their own one-yard line and the Command Defense stuffed the SaberCats on four straight downs. KC took over on downs and Zack Eskridge ran in for his second rushing touchdown giving the Command their first lead of the game. KC's defensive line stepped up again in the third quarter to stop the SaberCats on the one- yard line keeping San Jose off the board once again.

Kansas City-native, OJ Simpson capitalized on his first home start in a Command uniform by contributing a 32-yard catch and run in the first quarter to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Eskridge. Simpson's aggressive play also boasted a net recovery for three yards to give KC a 31-25 lead to start the second half.

"It was an overall character win for our whole team," said Command Coach Danton Barto. "The guys fought hard from the starting kickoff to the last play. We talked about that all week, it's their season and how do they want to finish. These guys have a lot of pride in the locker room and hopefully it's a start of a great run for us."

SaberCats quarterback Mark Grieb came into KC seven touchdown passes short of the 900 mark, he left the Sprint Center with 322 yards and five touchdowns; just two shy of becoming the third quarterback in AFL history to throw for 900 touchdowns.

Command wide receivers Bret Smith and Jackie Chambers each contributed two touchdowns and Kansas City compiled their largest point total of the season. Chambers ended with three player awards including the National Guard MVP of the Game. KC's defense was stellar once again, holding the second ranked passing offense to their lowest point total of the season.

"Zack did a great job," said coach Barto. "I challenged our receivers, (telling them) you guys got the talent to make plays... let's make them. They did a great job of blocking for each other on the screen game, they did a great job of making guys miss. Zack settled in and did a really good job in the second half to manage the game."

Next Home Game

The Command remain in Kansas City for a second straight home game against the Chicago Rush (7-5). That game will be on Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. (CT).

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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