KISS starts AFL season on a winning note
By DAN ARRITT / Orange County Register
The owners of the LA KISS seem to be going all out to put a winner on the field for the first time in franchise history, and if Saturday's season opener against the Jacksonville Sharks is any indication, the third-year organization is on the right track.
The KISS blew open a tight game in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 64-39 victory at Honda Center, scoring more points than in any game last season, when they lost their first nine games before finishing 4-14.
"I'm somewhat overwhelmed," said KISS coach Omarr Smith, who was making his head coaching debut. "I didn't expect this night to go this well."
Neither team gained much of an advantage until the final minute of the third quarter and the opening seconds of the fourth.
The KISS had just taken their biggest lead at 47-39 on Donovan Morgan's third touchdown reception of the game. The KISS then kicked off to start the fourth and former USC kicker Andre Heidari hit one of the crossbars just out of the reach of returner David Hyland and the ball caromed back out toward the playing field.
KISS receiver D.J. Stephens snagged the ball out of the air and was taken down at the Jacksonville 3-yard line. On the next play, 305-pound running back Rory Nixon barreled into the end zone and Heidari's point-after stretched the lead to 54-39.
After playing turnover-free football the first three quarters, the Sharks turned the ball over again when Marcus Pittman tipped a pass from former Edison High School standout Tommy Grady and Rayshaun Kizer intercepted it at the Jacksonville 1.
The KISS didn't produce any points on that drive, but Heidari later kicked a field goal and then hit the same crossbar on his ensuing kickoff, and the KISS again recovered the ball, this time taking it into the end zone for a 64-39 lead.