“It’s hard to pick a positive out of a loss,” Hodgkiss said. “But, we went head-to-head with a team that some are predicting are not only going to win (the American Conference’s Western Division) again, but compete for an Arena Bowl.” Sonny Cumbie completed four of his first five pass attempts, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Lenzie Jackson in the first quarter. The second-year quarterback from Texas Tech finished with 357yards on 25-of-40 passing and six TDs. “(Cumbie) is more confident this year, no doubt,” Hodgkiss said. “He was making all the right reads and played good enough for us to win.” Jackson had 13receptions for 238yards and three scores. Trailing 38-31 at halftime, the Avengers (0-1) needed just twoplays to score on the opening possession of the second half when Cumbie connected with Kevin Ingram on a 21-yard strike to tie the score. Ingram finished with seven catches for 67 yards and two TDs. After the SaberCats (1-0) scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Grieb to Nelson, SanJose kicker A.J. Haglund successfully put down an onside kick. The SaberCats scored fourplays later on a 3-yard run by Rodney Wright for a 59-45 lead with 1:14 remaining in the third quarter. “We spend more time then any other team on special teams in practice,” Hodgkiss said. “It looks like we have to hit the special teams even harder, we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot like this.” The Avengers found themselves in a hole at the end of the first quarter after the SaberCats’ Rodney Wright rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. With the Avengers behind 21-14 in the second quarter, Silas Demary jumped at the line of scrimmage to intercept a Grieb pass, which led to a 17-yard field goal by Remy Hamilton. 21-7 [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Going into Sunday’s season opener at Staples Center, the Avengers could not have wanted anything more than to defeat the Western Division rival San Jose SaberCats to help put last year’s 5-11 season behind them. So much so, they attempted an onside kick on the opening kickoff – a decision made by Avengers coach Ed Hodgkiss about two days ago. The Avengers recovered, only to have the ball given to San Jose because of an offsides penalty. San Jose scored one play later on a 6-yard pass from Mark Grieb to Ben Nelson, giving the SaberCats the lead just 23 seconds into the game. From that point on, the Avengers were playing catch-up, and despite coming back to tie the score four times, they fell to the SaberCats 66-58 in front of 12,586.