The Los Angeles KISS returned from the universal bye week to take on the Tampa Bay Storm on First Responders Night at the Honda Center. The KISS struggled with the lowly Storm in the first half, but they dominated in the second half to pull away with the 48-21 win in front of 6,249 fans on Monday night.
The KISS defense continued its stellar season, as they set a franchise record for least amount of points allowed (21). LA also shut down Tampa Bay in an earlier meeting, as they held the Storm to just 27 points. The KISS won the coin toss, and they deferred to the second half, meaning Tampa Bay would get the first possession of the game. Tampa Bay had an 11-play drive going, but they ultimately turned the ball over on downs.
KISS quarterback Nathan Stanley, who hasn’t played since Week 7 because of an injury, got the KISS on the board before the end of the quarter. Stanley connected with Donovan Morgan on an 11-yard touchdown pass, to give LA the 7-0 lead.
The Storm had a response early in the second quarter, when Jason Boltus found T.T Tolliver in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass. The Storm would knot the game up at seven apiece after the touchdown. The KISS would regain the advantage, when fullback Rory Nixon scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown, which gave the KISS a 14-7 edge.
In just three plays, the Storm tied the game again, when John Brown scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown. Tampa Bay and LA were tied at 14 with about three minutes left in the quarter. The Storm and KISS were tied at halftime in a low-scoring affair, but the KISS weren’t going to let the score stay like that for long.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Nixon scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown, giving the KISS a 21-14 lead. The KISS finally got some separation, when Stanley connected with DJ Stephens on a nine-yard touchdown. Chris Gould failed the PAT, but the KISS still had the 27-14 advantage.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Stanley found Morgan for a 29-yard touchdown, giving LA the 34-14 lead. The KISS took full control of the game, when Stanley found Stephens on a 32-yard touchdown, which gave LA the commanding 41-14 lead. Tampa Bay’s second string quarterback Adam Kennedy would score on a seven-yard rushing touchdown, which cut the deficit to 41-21, but it was meaningless, since there was only one minute left in the game.
LA would put the icing on the cake, when second string quarterback Pete Thomas connected with Stephens on a 29-yard touchdown. LA took the 48-21 lead, and that would be the final score, as LA moved one step closer to hosting a playoff game.
Stanley completed 17 of his 32 pass attempts for 186 yards and four touchdowns. DJ Stephens hauled in eight catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Donovan Morgan caught four passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns.
Jason Boltus completed 18 of his 38 pass attempts, for 178 yards and one touchdown. T.T. Tolliver caught 10 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. Tolliver also became the AFL’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards. The KISS (6-7) will play the Cleveland Gladiators in their final home game of the season next week, while the Storm (1-12) will take on the Philadelphia Soul next week in Tampa.