By Tim Peterson
(Anaheim) – Arizona jumped out to a 35-12 first half lead and then had to hold on in an eventual 49-43 win over the LA KISS Saturday night at Honda Center.
Nick Davila threw for six touchdowns and 282 yards for the Rattlers who improved to 11-2 on the season. Rod Windsor and Kerry Reed each caught a pair of touchdown passes. Danny Southwick threw for five TDs, four of them to Donovan “Captain” Morgan, and 311 yards for the KISS. Southwick was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion and had to be replaced by Joe Clancy.
Nick Davila’s three-yard touchdown pass to Rod Windsor got the Rattlers on the board first. The KISS was stopped and Davila struck again hitting Kerry Reed for a two touchdown lead..
Southwick connected with Morgan for eight yards to get the KISS on the board. The extra point was blocked.
Former KISS player AJ Cruz hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Davila and after Mykel Benson scooted in from a yard out Arizona was coasting 28-6. Morgan caught his second of the night, a 48-yard pass from Southwick but the KISS was still down 35-18 at the break.
Former USC Trojan Andre Heidari booted a 21-yard field goal for the KISS to open the second half to cut the lead to 35-21 but Arizona answered with a 10-yard TD pass from Davila to Windsor.
After Southwick hit Morgan again on a 43-yard TD laser strike on the next possession to get the KISS within two scores, Cruz smacked the KISS again on the ensuing kickoff as he returned it 58 yards for a score for a 49-28 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
LA made it interesting in the fourth quarter when the KISS forced a fumble. Southwick was then hit and in came Clancy who hooked up with who else? Morgan. After a botched snap Clancy ran it in for a two point conversion and suddenly the KISS was down 49-43 with 2:41 left.
Arizona however was able to make a couple of first downs, one the courtesy of a personal foul on KISS DB Josh Victorian, and chewed up the rest of the clock.
KISS head coach Bob McMillen was upset with the officiating and several late hits by Arizona.
“After four or five hits like that he’s going to go down,” McMillen said “How many late hits for roughing the passer did they receive? I’m upset because I’m trying to protect my players.”
When asked whether there should have been some ejections McMillen responded “The league will have to review it and make a decision. I’m not going to get into all of that.”
“We can play with anybody. I feel we are better than them,” Morgan said. “But we need to play without stupidity.”
The KISS fell to 2-11 on the year. They will have a bye next week before returning home July 12 to face Spokane.
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