Portland, Ore.— In a defensive, back-and-forth battle, the LA KISS (7-9) were defeated by the Portland Steel (3-13) by a final score of 48-to-46 in front of 5,236 fans at the Moda Center on Monday night. No team led by more than six points in a game that went down to the final ten seconds and combined for a total of 14 lead changes and ties.
Pete Thomas led the LA KISS offense by completing 23-of-33 pass attempts for 258 yards and five touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions and scored on a quarterback sneak. Donovan Morgan hauled in 12 receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns to lead all receivers. LaQuan Williams snagged three receptions for 54 yards and two scores. Justin Wilson added three catches for 23 yards and had a lone touchdown.
For the Steel, quarterback, Shane Austin completed 24-of-42 pass attempts for 207 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Rashaad Carter caught 10 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Jared Perry registered five receptions for 60 yards and scored three times.
Josh Victorian tallied 12 solo tackles and one interception to lead the LA KISS defense. Dontay Moch added three tackles and one strip-sack. For Portland, Sergio Gilliam led the way with five tackles and two interceptions in the game.
After the Steel won the toss and deferred possession to the second half, the LA KISS opened the game with the ball. On the first drive of the game, the LA KISS were unable to get anything going on offense and turned the ball over on downs. Four plays later, the LA KISS forced Austin to fumble the ball, which Qumain Black scooped up and ran 19 yards for the score. The Donny Hageman point after attempt was good and the LA KISS led 7-0 with 8:58 left in the first quarter. On the ensuing possession, the Steel capped off a nine-play drive with a touchdown when Austin hit Perry for a four yards. After a successful kick, the score was even at seven. After a 34-yard kickoff return by Wilson, the quarter ended and the score was 7-7.
Following a 12-yard reception from Sam Tupua, the LA KISS struck first in the second quarter on a one-yard QB sneak by Thomas. The kick was no good and the LA KISS led 13-7. Portland evened the score, but was unable to take the lead, after Perry hauled in an 18-yard touchdown and Moch blocked the PAT. On the first play of the next possession, Sergio Gilliam intercepted Thomas’ pass. The Steel were unable to take advantage on the turnover and they turned the ball over on downs. One play after the one-minute warning, Thomas found Morgan for an 11-yard touchdown and the LA KISS took a 20-13 lead with 53 seconds on the clock. The Steel countered with a two-yard rushing touchdown Bryson Kelly and the scored was tied at 20, which was the score at the half.
The second half opened with a five straight turnovers and ended with by back-to-back scores. Obi and Gilliam recorded interceptions then Moch recorded a strip-sack on Austin. The fumble was recovered by Mike Lewis, which gave Los Angeles possession. Austin, after an LA KISS turnover on downs, fumbled the ball and the LA KISS recovered the ball on the Steel’s 10-yard line. The LA KISS finally were able to find the endzone when Wilson scored on a 10-yard reception from Thomas and the LA KISS took a seven-point lead with 6:04 left in the quarter. On the next drive, Steel fullback Kevin Myers plowed his way through the goal line for a one-yard rushing touchdown. The kick split the uprights and the game was tied yet again. At the end of the quarter, the game remained even at 27 points.
To start the fourth quarter, Thomas led the LA KISS on a five-play, 47-yard scoring drive, which ended with a 25-yard touchdown to Wilson. After the Hageman kick split the uprights, the LA KISS regained a seven-point lead with 13:22 left in the game. The Steel brought the game to a 34-point deadlock when Carter hauled in an 18-yard touchdown. Then Morgan caught a 32-yard touchdown from Thomas and the LA KISS fired back and took another six-point lead. Portland gained their first lead of the game after a one-yard touchdown run by Kelly and a successful PAT. However, Portland’s lead was short-lived. On the first play of the LA KISS’ ensuing drive, Thomas found a wide-open LaQuan Williams for a 25-yard score. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the LA KISS were up 46-41 with 56 seconds left in the game. The Steel managed the clock perfectly and, with just seven second remaining in regulation, scored on a 13-yard pass from Austin-to-Perry and took a two-point lead. The LA KISS could not find the end zone as time expired and the Portland Steel ended the game on top, 48-46.
Next week the LA KISS will host their first home postseason game in franchise history as they welcome the Cleveland Gladiators to the Valley View Casino Center on Sunday, August 7th. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 PM PST and the game will be able to be viewed live on ESPN 3.
Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game – Bryson Kelly, PDX
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Sergio Gilliam, PDX
Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Donovan Morgan, LAK
Cutter Catch of the Game – Jared Perry, PDX GWTD catch with 6.2 seconds remaining
AFL Highlight of the Game – Sergio Gilliam, PDX One-handed INT in the 2nd Quarter