A series of fourth-quarter miscues proved costly for the Jacksonville Sharks on Saturday night, as the team fell to the LA KISS, 64-39, in the 2016 season opener at Honda Center.
The pivotal stretch of Saturday’s game came early in the fourth, as Jacksonville (0-1) trailed by a 47-39 count entering the final period. On the first play of the quarter, an LA (1-0) kickoff ricocheted off the iron and into the arms of a member of the KISS’ kick coverage unit, giving LA a first-and-goal at the Sharks’ three-yard line. KISS fullback Rory Nixon scored on the ensuing snap, giving the home team a two-score lead, 54-39.
From that point forward, the Sharks were unable to close the gap. On Jacksonville’s next offensive series, the team moved into the red zone before a Tommy Grady pass was batted high into the air and intercepted by LA’s Rayshaun Kizer. Though the Jacksonville defense got a stop on the KISS’ next possession, the Sharks’ offense again came up empty, as four straight incompletions led to a turnover on downs.
The KISS got the ball back with approximately five and a half minutes remaining and burned off a majority of the remaining time, as Andre Heidari connected on a 19-yard field goal with 1:08 to play, putting LA ahead by a 57-39 score. The cascade continued as the ensuing kickoff bounced off the iron – this time into the arms of D.J. Stephens, who secured a KISS touchdown for what proved to be the game’s final score.