ANAHEIM, CA- The first win of the season was seconds away. It was within their grasp. The crowd was on its feet. Music blared from the loudspeakers. The Honda Center home crowd energy tried to will their LA KISS football team to victory in the game’s final moments. Jacksonville Sharks’ Player of the Game, Greg Reid, however, and perhaps fittingly, intercepted the final pass of the game to secure the victory 41-35 for the visiting team.
LA KISS started its last drive with 45 seconds on the clock, and only 30 yards away from their first victory of the season.
The drive went for 6 plays and just 21 yards to leave them nine yards and six points short of that goal. It also left the KISS with another defeat and still in search of the team’s first win of the season. They came close to achieving that goal against Jacksonville although it didn’t start off that way. Jacksonville rolled into Honda Center, setting the tone early.
On just the second play from scrimmage, the Sharks took the lead after a tremendous 40-yard touchdown grab by Anthony Jones. Jones finished the game with a team-high 122 yards on nine catches. Jones and the Sharks were just getting started. Before the first quarter was finished, the Sharks had posted a 21-0 lead.
For all sense and purposes, the game appeared to be over before it really got started. However, this KISS team didn’t back down. Down three touchdowns, LA KISS managed to get on the scoreboard in the second quarter with some smart play calls. The KISS drove ball down field on two drives that were capped by touchdown runs of with two yard and four yards.
Going into intermission, the KISS had sawed the Sharks’ lead in half (28-14). The KISS had the momentum and the crowd backing them. They were ready to steal the game from the Sharks. And they looked as if they would pull off the comeback. Team leader and captain Donovan Morgan assisted in the KISS next score, picking up a critical first down catch. With another scoring drive, the KISS now only trailed the Sharks by seven points with the rest of the second half to play.
Unfortunately, the game belonged to the Sharks who held on to win this game by the efforts of their defense, and by the many defensive plays Reid made. Reid led the Sharks with 8.5 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one big interception and tight coverage on LA KISS receivers all night. During a late drive with LA KISS down 35-28, and primed to score to tie the game, Reid got a fingertip on a ball in the endzone to knock it out of the reach of DeMarco Sampson.
Sampson led the KISS with 11 catches on 104 yards. Sampson would have had added to those totals had he hauled in that potential touchdown. The new spark on team against the Sharks was kick returner Laron Scott, who also doubled as a defensive back. Scott produced 136 yards on returns , recorded six tackles, forced a fumble and had a critical pass breakup in the fourth quarter.
There was a lot of good individual plays and effort from LA KISS players. The only thing next is to have it happen collectively as a team so they can capture that elusive win this season.