By Tim Peterson
(Anaheim) – Maurice Purify scored six touchdowns and San Jose blew open a close game in the second half to beat the KISS 60-38 Saturday night in the final game of the season at the Honda Center.
The KISS finished the season on a three game losing streak and went 4-14 overall. Meanwhile the Sabercats capped a 17-1 year, with their only loss coming at home to the KISS, and will now prepare of the playoffs.
LA trailed by just six, 37-31 at the half, but turned the ball over three times in the second half and was outscored 23-7.
San Jose scored on its first two possessions. The first on a four-yard run by Purify and the second on a TD strike of 49 yards from Erik Meyer to Purify in which Purify dragged two KISS defenders into the endzone with him.
The KISS scored on a touchdown pass from Joe Clancy to L.J. Castille in between but the extra point was botched and the Cats were up 14-6 at the end of one.
Number three for Purify came early in the second quarter when he was wide open in the end zone to haul in a 13-yard Meyer toss. Clancy found Donovan “Captain” Morgan on the ensuing possession for a 20 yard touchdown. Again the extra point was botched as the kicker tried to free kick the ball through the uprights.
Purify crossed the goal line again on the next possession on a two-yard run for the Cats for a 28-12 lead. The KISS responded with a Clancy to Morgan TD strike of 28 yards. The extra point this time was good.
The KISS defense stood up on the next series stopping San Jose on downs deep in their own territory. Clancy took advantage with a one-yard touchdown run on first down. The extra point was missed and LA was down by just three.
San Jose scored with 34 seconds left in the half as Purify picked up his fifth of the night on a two-yard jaunt. The KISS immediately answered as Clancy hit Morgan from ten yards out for his third touchdown of the night. The extra point was blocked and San Jose’s David Hyland returned it the length of the field for two points to give San Jose a 37-31 halftime lead.
The KISS coughed it up on their first possession of the third quarter. Purify, who else?, scored again for San Jose on a six-yard run. That gave him all six touchdowns.
The Sabercats sacked Clancy in the endzone for a safety and then found pay dirt again. The KISS could never recover.
Morgan hauled in one more touchdown pass and Rayshaun Kizer forced a turnover in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t nearly enough. The Sabercats broke it open late in the fourth quarter when Hyland came up with a pick six for a 60-38 lead. One more Clancy interception at the end of the contest and San Jose ran out the clock.
“I thought Joe played really well in the first half but struggled in the second,” said KISS head coach Bob McMillen. “Obviously the turnovers hurt us tonight.”
For now the KISS is thinking about 2016.
“We have a great group of core guys going forward. We have guys like Donovan Morgan and Rayshaun Kizer who are solid experienced guys,” McMillen said. And what about quarterback?
“We don’t know yet. We’ll have to look at all the tape and make a decision,” McMillen stated.
There was an announcement at halftime about 2016 KISS season tickets for sale and Paul Stanley addressed the crowd before the game. By all indications the KISS will be back next year. But will McMillen?
“I don’t know. My contract ends in October. I’ll talk to ownership next week and I hope I’ll be back. But if I’m not I hope Gene (Simmons) and Paul win a championship because they deserve it,” McMillen added.