Los Angeles KISS fell just short Saturday night in a nail biting finish against the now 4-0 Cleveland Gladiators. Quarterback J.J. Raterink led the KISS with 4 touchdowns, 259 yards. Also contributing a strong performance was receiver Donovan Morgan who accounted for 3 touchdowns, 115 yards and a 1 handed catch for 45 yards in the first.
Cleveland pulled ahead in the first quarter with a completed pass by quarterback Shane Austin for 5 yards to receiver Dominick Goodman, touchdown Cleveland. Followed by an incomplete kick by kicker Aaron Pettrey, Gladiators lead 6-0. But Los Angeles quickly fired back with a 45-yard completion from Raterink to "Captain" Morgan who would on-handedly pull down the pass and run it in for a touchdown. With a completed kick from Kenny Spencer, KISS led 7-6 with a little over 3 minutes left in the first.
With 3 penalties and 3 touchdowns, the second quarter was a battle. Cleveland started the quarter with an 11-yard pass from Austin to receiver Thyron Lewis for a touchdown. KISS fought back with a blocked kick by the Arena Football League's Week 4 Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and LA KISS MAC linebacker Beau Bell. Keeping momentum, Raterink's pass to receiver Markee White was good for a touchdown with just under 8 minutes left in the half. Spencer's kick was also good, KISS leads 14-12. Cleveland lineman Corey Howard then rushed for 8 yards for a touchdown and Pettrey followed with a completed kick making it 19-14 Gladiators with less than 5 minutes left in the half. KISS wrapped up the half with a completed field goal attempt by Spencer, 19-17 Gladiators lead at the half.
With back-to-back touchdowns from each team to start off the third, it was defensive back Mervin Brookins' 44-yard return that really got things rolling. Moments later, Raterink would pass to receiver Samie Parker for a touchdown. With 3:12 on the clock and the score 30-26 Los Angeles, the Gladiators were not done yet; a 35-yard pass to Lewis would put Cleveland back in the lead 33-30 to end the third quarter. After a strong defensive fourth quarter, Cleveland got one final touchdown to seal the deal, final score 40-30 Gladiators.
LA KISS are on the road next Saturday, April 19 to take on the Iowa Barnstormers at 5PM (PST). LA KISS single game tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.com or the Honda Center box office. For more information visit lakissfootball.com or call 714-462-KISS.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – CLE Shane Austin
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – LAK Andre Jones
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – CLE Thyron Lewis
Cutters Catch of the Game – CLE Thyron Lewis
AFL Highlight of the Game – LAK Donovan Morgan's 1-handed catch for 45 yards in the first quarter