Los Angeles, CA — The LA KISS (1-0) used a huge third quarter to break away and beat the Jacksonville Sharks (0-1) by a final score of 64 to 39 in front of 6,805 fans at the Honda Center on Saturday evening.
“I am very appreciative of our players, they came out and played a really good football game,” said Head Coach Omarr Smith. “For our first time going against a team in a different uniform, they stepped up, challenged them [the Sharks], and answered the bill.”
Under Armour Player of the Game, Nathan Stanley was lights out for the LA KISS completing 27of 36 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns. DJ Stephens lead the LA KISS receiving core with nine receptions for 101 yards. Donovan Morgan had a strong opening night with seven receptions for 81 yards and three touchdowns. Morgan’s first touchdown of the game was his 250th career touchdown. Brandon Collins had five receptions for 63 yards and added two touchdowns. FB Rory Nixon scored two touchdowns on three carries.
Jacksonville Sharks’ quarterback, Tommy Grady completed 22 of 31 passes for 279 yards, while throwing one touchdown and one interception. Joe Hills led the Sharks offense with nine receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Roger Jackson caught five passes for 28 yards and one touchdown. Tiger Jones added one touchdown on three receptions. J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game Derrick Ross gained 18 yards on nine attempts and scored two touchdowns.
Rayshaun Kizer led the LA KISS defense with six solo tackles, and one interception. Clevan Thomas added 5 tackles and two pass breakups. Riddell Defensive Player of the Game Chris Smith led the Sharks defense with 11.5 tackles.
After winning the toss, the LA KISS deferred and kicked off to the Sharks. On the first play from scrimmage, Grady connected with Joe Hills for a 41-yard touchdown. After Marco Capozzoli’s kick was no good, the score was 6-0. Nathan Stanley completed a 26-yard pass to DJ Stephens, then he scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper. Andre Heidari’s kick was good, giving the LA KISS a 7-6 lead. Grady found Jackson in the end zone with 3:46 left in the first quarter. The kick was good, making it 13-7 Sharks. The KISS countered when Morgan caught a 11-yard touchdown pass from Stanley. After Heidari converted the PAT, the KISS retook the lead by a score of 14-13 with 30 seconds left in the first.
Jones started off the second quarter with a 41-yard touchdown reception from Grady to give the Sharks a 20-14 lead. With 11:40 left in the second quarter, Stanley found Morgan for a 33-yard touchdown pass. After a successful kick, the LA KISS led by a score of 21-20. The Sharks made the score 27-21 when Hills caught a 3-yard touchdown from Grady. On the ensuing possession, LA KISS fullback Rory Nixon scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Heidari missed the kick, keeping the score tied at 27-27 with 1:40 remaining in the half. After the LA KISS failed to convert an onside kick, Derrick Ross scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Capozzoli failed to convert the PAT and the Sharks led by six with 27 seconds left in the second quarter. LA KISS scored in just 20 seconds to even the score when Collins made the AFL highlight of the game, a 19 yard touchdown reception. At the end of the first half the score was tied at 33.
On the first play of the third quarter, Stanley connected with Collins for a 35-yard touchdown pass. After a successful kick, the KISS led 40-33. Jacksonville countered with another 1-yard rushing touchdown from Derrick Ross. Capozzoli missed the point after and the LA KISS kept a 40-39 lead with 8:48 left in the quarter. As time expired in the third quarter, Morgan made the Cutters Catch of the Game, a one-handed five-yard touchdown reception. The LA KISS extended to their lead to 47-39.
After DJ Stephens recovered the kickoff, Nixon ran in a 5-yard touchdown. With 13:37 left in the fourth quarter, the LA Kiss led 54-39. On the next drive, Kizer intercepted Grady’s pass with 11 minutes left in the game. The LA KISS failed to take advantage of Kizer’s interception and turned the ball over on downs. After the Heidari field goal, Stephens recovered and scored the ensuing kick off .The final score LA KISS 64, Jacksonville Sharks 39.
Next week, the LA KISS host the Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, April 9th at the Honda Center. The kickoff will be at 8:00 pm and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
For more information about the LA KISS Football organization please visit LAKISSFootball.com or call 714-462-KISS (5477).
ABOUT LA KISS FOOTBALL:
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, two of the greatest showmen of all time, brought pro football to Los Angeles with the formation of LA KISS Football. In just one year, LA KISS has become a phenomenon by taking the KISS mentality and applying it to a sports team. LA KISS represents the fusion of entertainment and sports like no other brand and delivers an all-encompassing in-game experience that is second to none. LA KISS ownership combines over 40 years of success in both entertainment, sports and business. The leadership team looks to challenge and redefine the term “sports entertainment” by applying the KISS mindset to everything they do. For more information, visit lakissfootball.com or follow the team on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.