LAS VEGAS – Rivalries are part of what makes sports great. The reasons for a rivalry can vary. Some are based on geography. Some are based on division, or conference. Some are simply based on longevity. I can’t think of any, however, that have been based on Rock N Roll….until now. The expansion Las Vegas Outlaws are owned by Motley Crue front man Vince Neil, and the second year LA KISS are owned by two members of the band KISS, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Los Angeles and Las Vegas would have been a natural geographical rivalry, but the dueling band members gives the rivalry that extra pop. The two teams are even adding a little college football flair to their head to head games by playing for a brass helmet trophy.
Las Vegas won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half. LA received and began the penalty fest that would plague them all night. Three false start penalties, and relentless pressure from the Outlaws d-line helped stall the LA offense. After taking 8 minutes off the clock and running 10 plays, the KISS could only gain 31 total yards and had to settle for a FG. Las Vegas return man, Gerald Young, took the ensuing kickoff 56 yards for the Outlaws touchdown. That would be the only time Vegas would have their hands on the ball for the entire first quarter. LA put together another long drive, converting a 4th & 14 along the way. The quarter would end with the Outlaws leading 7-3, and LA facing a 4th & 20.
LA would turn the ball over on downs, but Vegas couldn’t capitalize. Facing a 4th & goal from the 1, the Outlaws had a false start of their own and could not convert. It took only one play for LA to turn it around. QB, Matt Bassuener connected with Demarc Sampson for a 44 yard TD to give LA a 10-7 lead. The Outlaws would answer on a JJ Raterink keeper from the one yard line to give Vegas a 14-10 lead, a lead they wouldn’t give up again. Just under three minutes later, the Outlaws Landon Hudson picked up an LA fumble and took it the distance for the TD. LA again responded with a scoring drive with only :51 left in the half, but the PAT was blocked. It took only 11 seconds for the Outlaws to extend their lead when backup QB, Sean Brackett ran in from the 2 for the TD. The half would end on another KISS fumble, and Las Vegas took a 28-16 lead to the locker room.
The third quarter was all Vegas. They opened the second half scoring with a screen pass to big Terrence Campbell, extending their lead to 35-16. Looking for a spark on offense, LA went with backup QB, Joe Clancy for the second half. He promptly fumbled, adding to the frustration of the LA sideline. Taking over at their own 9, JJ Raterink dialed up the deep ball and hit Jomo Wilson for the 41 yard TD. LA would fail to convert on 4th down from their own 6 on their next drive. Raterink found Wilson again for the TD, and Vegas took a commanding 49-16 lead into the 4th quarter.
Both teams looked like they were clock watching in the 4th. Both sides content to watch the seconds tick away with the end result no longer in doubt. The Outlaws defensive line, which couldn’t get any pressure in Jacksonville last week, looked dominate against the soft LA o-line. Both LA QB’s were under constant assault, and neither could get into any kind of rhythm. Las Vegas finished the night with five sacks. LA had more yards (248-178), ran more plays (54-35), and had nearly 13 minutes more (36:22 – 23:31) in time of possession. They also had 13 penalties for 70 yards, and lost 3 fumbles. They played a very sloppy game, and it cost them.
With their 49-16 victory, the Las Vegas Outlaws improved to 3-2 on the season, while the Los Angeles KISS drop to 0-6. LA travels to Washington on Friday to face the 1-4 Shock. After facing the lone remaining winless team this week, the Outlaws will travel to San Jose on Saturday to play one of the two remaining undefeated teams, the Sabercats. It will no doubt be a much tougher test for Vegas.