By Kahlil Najar
ANAHEIM – The San Jose SaberCats (4-3) beat the expansion Los Angeles KISS (2-4) 48-32 in their first regular season meeting at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Quarterback Russ Michna had another great game as he we 26-of-40 for 249 yards and six touchdowns. Rod Harper provided most of the offensive scoring power as he had nine receptions for 67 yards and four touchdowns.
On his performance tonight, Harper said, “Tonight it was me, but we have so much talent receiving that it could be anybody’s night but tonight, that’s how it shook out.”
“It was a physical game and that’s what I wanted. L.A. came out and played hard and they wouldn’t go away,” said Head Coach Darren Arbet.
It was a low scoring affair in the first quarter as San Jose was only able to fine Harper for a three yard touchdown pass and the Kiss handed the ball to Joe Mortensen for a 1-yard run. However after a missed extra point attempt the first quarter ended 7-6 in San Jose’s favor.
In the second quarter the Cats and the Kiss traded scores with Michna finding Harper again for two touchdowns and one to Doug Williams. The Kiss put up two touchdowns of their own to Morgan and Parker but missed on both extra point attempts and brought the score to 27-18 after the first half of play.
The KISS got the ball to start the second half but quickly turned it over when Raterink was intercepted by defensive back Clevan Thomas at the San Jose 1 yard line and gave the ball back to the Cats. Michna then connected with Harper for his fourth touchdown of the evening and brought the score up to 34 -18. The Cats got the ball back from the Kiss but then Michna tossed his only interception of the night to Kiss defensive back Andre Jones and Raterink ran the ball into the end zone for the score. After he went in for the touchdown, the Kiss went for two and handed the ball back to Raterink and he was able to pound it in and make it a 34-26 lead for San Jose.
In the fourth, the Cats scored two unanswered touchdowns with one going to Odie Armstrong and the other going to Rich Ranglin to make it 48-26.The Kiss scored with 1:37 left on a nice pass to Parker from Raterink but with a missed two point conversion it made the score 48-32. On the kickoff, Kiss tried an onside kid but failed and the San Jose recovered and ran out the clock to seal the victory.
The SaberCats now head home to face the Orlando Predators on Saturday May 3rd at 7:30 pm PST.