(Anaheim) – The LA KISS jumped out to a 14-0 advantage, and never relinquished the lead in a 69-61 win over Portland Saturday night at Honda Center. The KISS snapped an eight game losing streak with the victory improving to 3-9 while the Thunder fell to 3-10.
The KISS, who have a made a habit of falling behind early this year, jumped on the Thunder first this time. Donovan Morgan hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Garcia on the opening possession. Matt Estrada then recovered a Thunder fumble on the next series and bolted five yards for a touchdown. Shout it out loud it was 14-0 KISS less than five minutes into the contest.
Portland responded on the next series when Kyle Rowley fired a 34-yard strike to Alvance Robinson for a touchdown. But the KISS punched back on a two yard run by quarterback Kenny Guiton, who stepped in for Garcia and ran out of the wildcat. The Rowley-Robinson connection worked again for a ten-yard score on Portland’s next possession and the KISS was up 21-13 after one.
Morgan made the play of the game on the KISS’ next possession when he one handed a Garcia pass and held on while falling over the barrier and disappearing behind the end zone for a touchdown and a 28-13 lead. On the ensuing kick Beau Bell fell on a Thunder fumble in the endzone for the fifth KISS touchdown of the night.
Portland looked buried down 35-13 but fought back to climb back in it. Rowley hit Braylon Bell for a seven yard score. On the ensuing series, Garcia, while being sacked threw a wounded duck into the waiting arms of Bryce Perila, who skipped three yards into the endzone.
Garcia was interecepted again on the following series and the Thunder took advantage when Darron Thomas capped a drive with a three yard touchdown run with 16 seconds left in the second quarter. The KISS answered with a touchdown pass from Garcia to Samora Goodson to close out the half and take a 42-33 lead at the break.
In the fourth quarter Goodson got loose again 20-yard TD reception from Garcia and Estrada scored twice on the ground from six yards and a yard out. Eric Rogers caught two touchdown passes from Rowley to keep the Thunder within striking distance, but the KISS recovered two onside kicks to secure the win.
Goodson, who played for the Thunder earlier this year, had 11 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Moragan had eight for 63 while Garcia threw for 289 yards and five scores.
“We can’t have any more excuses. We just need to step up and play,” Goodson said.
“Usually I step up and make big plays but tonight this guy did. He just had a great game,” Morgan said of Goodson. “We just have to continue to believe. Our guys believed tonight and it showed.”
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight. We played the whole game,” said KISS HC Bob McMillen. “We still have a long second half of the season to go but we took a huge step tonight.”
Rogers was the go to guy for Portland with 10 catches for 144 yards and four touchdowns. Rowley was 25 of 38 for 362 yards and seven scores.
Next week the KISS hits the road for Arizona as they try to stay alive for a playoff berth.