By Tim Peterson
(Anaheim) – The KISS fell behind by three touchdowns at halftime and ultimately could never recover in a 64-49 loss to Arizona Sunday at Honda Center.
Nick Davila threw four touchdown passes in the first half for the Rattlers and KJ Morton returned a Pete Thomas pass 19 yards for a pick six to highlight the first half.
Davila found Maurce Purify three times for touchdowns and also hit Chase Deadder for ten yards too open the scoring.
Thomas connected with Justin Wilson for a 39-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 21-12 but the extra point attempt was fumbled and Jeremy Kellem returned it to the end zone for two points. Later in the half Thomas hit Donovan “Captain” Morgan for a 40-yard TD strike and he also scored on a two-yard run but the KISS still went into the half down by three scores.
Arizona went up 43-20 just before the break when Davila connected with Purify for six yards but Josh Victorian of the KISS got the two points back when he returned a blocked extra point back to the end zone to make it 43-22.
The KISS turned it around in the third quarter scoring on three consecutive possessions. After scoring on their first possession of the second half on a five-yard run by Rory Nixon, Fredrick Obi picked off a pass to set up a Thomas to Morgan 19-yard TD pass. The KISS then held on downs and Thomas then found a wide open Rory Nixon over the middle for an 11-yard score. The extra point was missed and the KISS was down just one at 43-42.
The Rattlers responded with a TD pass from Davila to Mykel Benson, who caught the ball out of the backfield and then rumbled 36 yards for a score to put Arizona up 50-42.
The KISS came right back as Morgan got behind the Rattler secondary and hauled in a perfectly thrown 43-yard bomb from Thomas to again cut the lead to one. For the KISS that was their last score of the night.
The Rattlers answered with a drive of their own capped by a one-yard run by Benson.
Thomas was hit while releasing the ball on the following series and was intercepted. Arizona cashed in on a couple of big runs by Benson, including another short blast for a touchdown and the lead was once again 15 at 64-49.
The KISS scored 26 points in the third quarter but none in the fourth and fell to defeat.
“To beat a team of that caliber it takes talent and not making mistakes and we’re not there yet,” said KISS Head Coach Omarr Smith. “Regardless of Arena Football, High School, College or professional to beat a team of that caliber, you can’t make mistakes. Period.”
The KISS fell to 5-7 with the loss with four games remaining while Arizona improved to 10-3.