Talons Fend Off KISS for an Emotional Victory
Tuesday July 22, 2014
San Antonio - After last week’s game where the San Antonio Talons (2-15) let their lead against the AFL’s top team, the Cleveland Gladiators, slip away in the last five minutes, they refused to let déjà vu rear its ugly head this week. After scoring the first 28 points of the game, the Talons allowed the LA KISS (3-14) to overcome that deficit but ultimately held on to defeat Los Angeles 72-65 in one of the more exciting games of the 2014 season.
In the first quarter, the Talons quickly jumped out to a 28 point lead before the KISS were able to catch their breath. Bassuener opened the scoring onslaught with a 21 yard touchdown pass to Robert Quiroga. On the ensuing kickoff, Garret Linholm’s kick took an unlikely bounce off of the net allowing Kelvin Rodgers enough time to race down field and recover the ball in the endzone for the Talons second touchdown of the night to move the score to 14-0.
Before the first quarter finally came to a close, the Talons opened up the game with 28 unanswered points to give them their biggest lead since week six of the season when they defeated the New Orleans VooDoo.
In the second quarter, the KISS were finally able to break out of their slump when JJ Raterink found Donovan Morgan for a 21 yard touchdown strike for their first points of the night.
The two teams traded scores throughout the rest of the second quarter. By the end of the first half, the Talons held a 44-28 lead but the fun was only just beginning in this nationally televised game.
To open the second half, the KISS scored on back to back touchdowns to pull to within three points of the Talons, 44-41. However, the Talons were able to respond with a 12 yard touchdown reception by Brent Holmes to push their lead back to 10 points heading into the final quarter.
Like the second and third quarters, both teams traded blows for most of the fourth quarter. The Talons tacked on a couple of touchdowns by way of a 12 yard Bassuener-to-Solomon connection as well as a 1 yard PJ Berry rushing touchdown. The KISS matched the Talons scores with two JJ Raterink passing touchdowns.
With just under two minutes left to play the Talons were still clinging to their 10 point lead, 65-55; enter the most exciting last two minutes of a Talons football game this season.
The KISS, trailing by two scores, managed to drive the ball to the Talons one yard line. On 2nd and 10 Raterink attempted a pass to the right side but San Antonio’s Kelvin Rodgers made an athletic move to undercut the intended target to pick off the would be Raterink touchdown pass and returned it for a touchdown of his own to put the game seemingly out of the KISS’ grasp. However, the play went under official review and revealed that Rodgers was knocked into the wall at the Talons own one yard line, where the Talons would take over with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
On the Talons first play of the drive, a Mykel Benson rush up the middle was blown up behind the line of scrimmage resulting in a safety for the KISS, moving the score to 65-57. Most importantly for the KISS, the safety moved them to within only one possession.
On the ensuing free kick, AJ Cruz returned it 57 yards for a touchdown, only to have it called back due to a KISS holding call. Although, the KISS would start the drive at their own five yard line, they didn’t take long to capitalize on their opportunity. On the first play of the drive, Raterink found Brandon Thompkins running free for a 45 yard touchdown to move the score to 65-63 with 25 seconds left to play in the game. Needing a two point conversion to tie the game the KISS went with what seemingly worked all game long: find Donovan Morgan. Raterink found him and fired a rocket to convert the two point conversion to tie the game at 65.
The Talons, faced with a similar situation last week against the Gladiators, could have folded after allowing a 28 point lead diminish. All of the chips were falling the KISS’ way. It was time for the Talons to tuck their tail between their legs and call it a day. But don’t tell that to this particular Talons team, who has been faced with more adversity than any other arena football team this season.
On the Talons next possession, facing second down from their own six yard line and only 18 seconds left to play, Matt Bassuener found PJ Berry sprinting by his self for a miraculous 34 yard touchdown reception to put the Talons on top for good, 72-65.
The KISS had one last opportunity, but it was ultimately dashed by Jeramie Richardson who sacked JJ Raterink as time ran out to seal the win for the Talons.
The Talons 72 points was their sixth highest scoring output in franchise history, but more importantly, it was just enough to give the Talons and their fans their second win of the season; an extremely emotional win for everyone in Black & Blue.