STOCKTON, Calif. - For the first time since 2007, the San Jose SaberCats are the champions of Arena Football. After a tight first half, San Jose forced turnovers and stifled the Jacksonville Sharks in the second half, claiming the fourth Foster Trophy in their franchise's history by a margin of 68-47 in ArenaBowl XXVIII on ESPN. The win solidified one of the most dominant seasons in Arena Football history.

Without the Riddell Defensive Player of the Year, defensive end Joe Sykes, SaberCats quarterback Erik Meyer had the space and the time to complete pass after pass against the Sharks. Meyer was able to feed star receiver Reggie Gray all game despite tight coverage from Jacksonville's impressive secondary - he finished the game with a team-high nine catches for 95 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

Much like last week's non-stop action in the Conference Championship games, the first half was a typical back-and-forth contest. Meyer and Sharks quarterback Tommy Grady traded blows, while both defenses struggled to contain each team's All-Arena casts of playmakers.

The usual suspects did the damage in the first and second quarters. Meyer had Gray in his sights while Grady and the hard-to-miss Joe Hills connected for four touchdowns. The first defensive stop didn't come until the final seconds of the half as Meyer tossed a Hail Mary as time expired into the arms of rookie All-Arena defensive back Greg Reid - so the Sharks carried a 33-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.

San Jose would receive the ball to open the first half and they never looked back.

Meyer and receiver D.J. Stephens found one another for a 26-yard touchdown on their first possession of the second half. On the ensuing drive for the Sharks, Grady's fourth-and-29 attempt on Jacksonville's 10-yard line was batted by Francis Maka and up for grabs at the line and, thus, picked easily by Jack linebacker David Hyland who hustled into the end zone for an easy score, padding San Jose's lead, 41-33.

Looking to bust back into the game, Grady and the Sharks needed an answer on their next drive but Hyland's defensive touchdown gave the SaberCats a stranglehold on the game's momentum and the team assumed control. Defensive end Donte Paige-Moss forced a fumble on the team's first play of the Sharks' drive and Meyer punched it in again to leap to a 15-point lead. It seemed the Sharks were scuffling to deal with the absence of receiver London Crawford who went down early in the first quarter. 

As Jacksonville prepared to take the field again, Nich Pertuit's kickoff banged off the post and gently fell into the arms of Hyland once more who jogged into the end zone. It was harsh, but the Sharks were just dealt a serious blow to their comeback efforts thanks to an unfortunate bounce off the uprights.

And when Grady and the Sharks finally got the ball back, the vaunted San Jose defense - the same unit that led Arena Football with 45 sacks this year - reared its head and Jacksonville turned the ball over once more, this time on downs.

Meyer all but officially ended the Sharks' hopes for a fourth-quarter comeback when he rushed 17 yards for a score, his second rushing touchdown of the game. Jacksonville, held scoreless in the third quarter, picked up their first points of the half with nine minutes left in the game on a touchdown pass to Terrance Smith, normally one of the team's starting defensive backs.

Each team would score one more time in the game but the clock was moving too quickly for the Sharks to play their way back into contention and the SaberCats became kings of the turf once more.

Sat, Aug 29, 2015 1 2 3 4 F
Jacksonville Sharks 14 19 0 14 47
San Jose SaberCats 6 21 28 13 68
Team Q Time Scoring Play V-H
JAX 1 11:08 Grady 23 yd pass to Hills (Rauch kick) 7-0
SJS 1 8:42 Meyer 18 yd pass to Gray (Pertuit kick failed) 7-6
JAX 1 4:01 Grady 15 yd pass to Jones (Rauch kick) 14-6
SJS 2 13:45 Meyer 4 yd pass to Gray (Pertuit kick) 14-13
JAX 2 10:58 Grady 29 yd pass to Hills (Rauch kick blocked) 20-13
SJS 2 3:44 Armstrong 1 yd run (Pertuit kick) 20-20
JAX 2 1:54 Grady 3 yd pass to Hills (Rauch kick) 27-20
SJS 2 0:41 Meyer 6 yd run (Pertuit kick) 27-27
JAX 2 0:15 Grady 8 yd pass to Hills (Rauch kick failed) 33-27
SJS 3 13:20 Meyer 26 yd pass to Stephens (Pertuit kick) 33-34
SJS 3 6:29 Hyland 10 yd interception return (Pertuit kick) 33-41
SJS 3 4:42 Meyer 9 yd pass to Reynolds (Pertuit kick) 33-48
SJS 3 3:54 Fontennette 5 yd net recovery (Pertuit kick) 33-55
SJS 4 10:54 Meyer 17 yd run (Pertuit kick failed) 33-61
JAX 4 9:07 Grady 24 yd pass to Smith (Rauch kick) 40-61
SJS 4 7:37 Stanley 6 yd pass to Gray (Pertuit kick) 40-68
JAX 4 1:50 Grady 9 yd pass to Smith (Rauch kick) 47-68

Jacksonville Sharks Passing

GRADY, Tommy223661.13108.671

San Jose SaberCats Passing

MEYER, Erik172958.62047.041
STANLEY, Nathan11100.066.010

Jacksonville Sharks Rushing

ROSS, Derrick7131.90
JONES, Anthony155.00

San Jose SaberCats Rushing

ARMSTRONG, Odie4102.51
MEYER, Erik3268.72
PURIFY, Maurice1-2- 2.00

Jacksonville Sharks Receiving

HILLS, Joe913314.84
SMITH, Terrance45313.32
BREWER, Xavier33712.30
JONES, Anthony33511.71
CRAWFORD, London22211.00
RUFFINS, Moqut13030.00

San Jose SaberCats Receiving

GRAY, Reggie99510.63
PURIFY, Maurice44511.30
REYNOLDS, Darius33812.71
STEPHENS, DJ23216.01

Jacksonville Sharks MFG Returns


San Jose SaberCats MFG Returns


Jacksonville Sharks INT Returns

REID, Greg100.00

San Jose SaberCats INT Returns

HYLAND, David11010.01

Jacksonville Sharks Kickoff Returns

BREWER, Xavier23819.00
JACKSON, Alvin Ray177.00

San Jose SaberCats Kickoff Returns

GRAY, Reggie23015.00

Jacksonville Sharks Kicking

PlayerPAT M/A%FG M/A%
RAUCH, Julian5/771.40/00.0

San Jose SaberCats Kicking

PlayerPAT M/A%FG M/A%
PERTUIT, Nich8/1080.00/00.0

Jacksonville Sharks Defense

REID, Greg7.0700000
JACKSON, LaRoche4.0400000
HOLMAN, Jason3.0300000
SMITH, Terrance3.0300000
TURNER, Jerry2.0200000
BREWER, Xavier1.0100000
JACKSON, Alvin Ray1.0100000
ROBINSON, Micheaux1.0100000

San Jose SaberCats Defense

THOMAS, Clevan7.5710001
FONTENETTE, Ken5.0500001
HYLAND, David4.5410000
PAIGE-MOSS, Donte2.0040010
MAKA, Francis1.5030000
OBI, Fred1.5110000
BOREL, Damien1.0020000
STEWART, Jason1.0020000
STEPHENS, DJ0.5010000
FRITZ, Rodney0.5010000