LA Kiss Press Release
Los Angeles – The LA KISS (4-4) took advantage of the Portland Steel’s (0-8) costly fourth quarter special teams mistakes and won a gritty contest by a score of 54 to 42 in front of a 7,150-person Honda Center crowd.
“In Arena Football it is always tough to win,” said Head Coach Omarr Smith. “Portland played very well and we should have played better. We have a lot of work to do before the next game.”
LA KISS quarterback and “Under Armour Player of the Game” Pete Thomas performed exceptionally well in his first career AFL start. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 223 yards and 6 touchdowns. Donovan Morgan led the LAK KISS receiving corps with seven receptions for 100 yards and four touchdowns. Justin Wilson snagged four catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. Fullback Rory Nixon added 40 yards receiving yards, 11 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“It feels great to be able to get a win,” said quarterback Pete Thomas. “It is pretty easy when you have a great offensive line and wide receivers. It was a great team win.”
Portland Steel quarterback Shane Austin tallied five touchdown passes, while completing 23 of 42 pass attempts for 223 yards. He also tossed five touchdowns and an interception. Tyron Goard led the Steel’s receivers with nine receptions for 103 yards and four touchdowns. Tom Gilson added 12 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Fredrick Obi led the LA KISSdefense with 11 total tackles (10 solo) and interceptions. Josh Victorian tallied four tackles and a pass breakup. Jamil Merrellscored a touchdown on a fumble recovery. “Riddell Defensive Player of the Game” Rober Hayes, who recorded two and a half tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, led Portland’s defense. Arness Ikner added two and a half tackles and two pass breakups.
Portland won the coin toss, deferred possession, and opened the game by kicking off to the LA KISS. On the second play from scrimmage, Thomas found Wilson for a 30-yard touchdown. The Joey Cejudo kick was good and the LA KISS led by a score of 7-0. Goard caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Austin, which, after a successful point after, evened the score at seven with 9:47 left in the quarter. Then Thomas threw a 16-yard touchdown to Morgan. Cejudo found the uprights and theLA KISS led 14-7 with 10:28 remaining in the quarter. The LA KISS were unable to capitalize on the Steel’s turnover on downs, when Portland recovered a Thomas fumble. At the end of the first quarter, the LA KISS led by a score of 14 to 7.
Shane Austin opened up the second quarter when he scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper. The successful PAT evened the score at 14. On the first play after a 37-yard kick return by Wilson, Thomas connected with Morgan for a 16-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good and the score remained 20-14 with 12:20 left in the quarter. The Steel took a 21-20 lead after an 18-yard Austin-to-Goard touchdown and a successful Lacayo PAT. Goard caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Austin, which extended the Steel lead to eight points with 1:00 remaining in the half. With 00:00 on the clock, Thomas found Morgan for a seven-yard touchdown. The LA KISS tied the game on a successful two-point conversion. At the end of the first half, the score was 28-28.
The Steel were the only team to find the endzone in the third quarter. They scored when Austin threw an eight-yard touchdown to Goard. Laycayo’s kick was good and the Steel led 28-35.
After the Steel, on the first possession of the fourth quarter, turned the ball over on downs, the LA KISS scored on a 25-yard Thomas-to-Morgan touchdown. A successful PAT evened the score at 35. Then Gilson scored on a 21-yard pass from Austin and Portland regained a seven-point lead. Following fullback Rory Nixon’s 26-yard reception, he scored on a three-yard run. Cejudo’s kick was wide of the uprights and the Steel led 42-41. On the ensuing kickoff, Christian Wise could not control the ball and Jamil Merrell recovered the ball for a touchdown. The PAT was good and the LA KISS took a 48-42 lead. After the LA KISS recovered their second kickoff in a row, they extended their lead to 12, with 1:00 minute remaining, after Thomas hit Nixon for a 14-yard touchdown. After a Fredrick Obi interception, the LA KISS were able to run out the clock. The final score was LA KISS 54, Portland Steel 42.
The LA KISS will conclude their two-game home stand next week, as they will host the Orlando Predators at the Honda Center. Kick off is set for Sunday, May 28th at 3:00 p.m. The game will be able to be streamed live online via ESPN3/WatchESPN.
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game: LAK QB Pete Thomas
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: PDX MLB Robert Hayes
J. Lewis Small Player of the Game: LAK WR Donovan Morgan
Cutters Catch of the Game: 21-yard touchdown reception by Steel WR Tom Gilson in the corner of the endzone with 9:48 left in the third quarter AFL Highlight of the Game: Fumble recovery by LA KISS defensive lineman Jamil Merrell in the fourth quarter.