By Tim Peterson
(Anaheim) – Arizona jumped out to a 27-7 first half lead and never looked back in a 68-30 rout of the LA KISS Saturday night at Honda Center.
The KISS turned the ball over six times compared to once for the Rattlers. The game was essentially over by halftime when Arizona was up 41-14. The KISS fell to 0-5 with the loss while the Rattlers improved to 4-1.
“It’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating. We made way too many mistakes and you can’t do that against the world champs,” said KISS head coach Bob McMillen. “We know we have a better team than we have showed. This team has showed a lot of character and heart and we know we have the talent to win but we haven’t been doing it.”
Nick Davila threw seven touchdown passes for Arizona including six in the first half. He had 232 yards passing overall. He left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury but it didn’t seem to matter as BJ Coleman came on and threw a TD pass to put the Rattlers up 55-30.
Brian Zbydniewski, playing for the injured Adrian McPherson, had four touchdowns passing for the KISS but was hurt by two picks. Donovan “Captain” Morgan caught three of those TD strikes and racked up 171 total yards on 11 receptions. Tom Gilson caught the other touchdown pass which came late in the third quarter.
“I’ve been in this league for awhile so there’s no excuses. I put it on my shoulders,” Zbydniewski said. “I had two picks. On one the receiver went high and I should have cut him low towards the wall.”
After the Arizona scored on its first possession, the KISS got even on five-yard touchdown pass from Zbydniewski to Morgan. But the Rattlers scored the next 20 straight points and the KISS was forced to play catch up the rest of the night. Davila hit Rod Windsor and Markee White for scores and offensive lineman Joe Gibbs also grabbed a pass and rumbled 18 yards for a score.
Morgan hauled in another TD pass – this one from 43 yards out to cut the lead to 27-14. The ball looked like it would be intercepted by the Arizona defender but Morgan made a terrific play to reel it in and then out run the secondary to the end zone.
The KISS couldn’t match Arizona’s touchdowns however and the Rattlers scored the next two to take a 27 point lead at the half. Davila connected with Kenny Reed for scores of 17 and four yards to close out the half.
The KISS showed some signs of life in the third quarter when they scored 16 straight points to cut the lead to 48-30 as Morgan and Gilson scored but again Arizona halted the KISS rally and ripped off 20 straight to end it.
Reed finished with nine receptions for 74 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona.
Despite Morgan’s big night he wasn’t satisfied. “I haven’t won a game since last year and who knows when that was?” he said. “We really felt we had an opportunity to win this game. We prepared all week but we made too many mental mistakes. We keep saying the same things every week. I’m tired of hearing that. Something needs to change.”
A.J Cruz, formerly of the KISS, returned four kicks for the Rattlers for 75 yards.
It doesn’t get any easier for the KISS. They hit the road for the next three weeks before returning home May 31 against Jacksonville.