The Pittsburgh Power led wire-to-wire and improved to 6-3 on the season after their 50-26 victory over the LA KISS in front of a season-best crowd of 7,762 at CONSOL Energy Center this evening. The contest was broadcast nationally live on CBS Sports Network.
Power quarterback Tommy Grady finished the game 27-of-37 for 202 yards and five touchdowns. Wideout Hank Edwards led all receivers with eight catches for 47 yards and three touchdowns. Shaun Kauleinamoku and Tyrone Goard each added a touchdown catch for Pittsburgh, who has now won three games in a row.
The Power defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble recovery) from the AFL’s all-time leader in pass completions, yards, and touchdowns Aaron Garcia. Defensive Back Al Phillips led Pittsburgh with 10 tackles, including a game-high eight solo tackles.
On the first play from scrimmage, Pittsburgh’s jack linebacker James Bryant sacked LA’s Garcia forcing a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by the Power’s defensive end Anthony Hoke for a touchdown. Kicker Julian Rauch added the extra point and with only 32 seconds played in the first quarter, the Power led 7-0. After forcing a turnover on downs on the KISS’ second possession, it took three plays for the Power offense to find the end zone. Grady connected with Edwards on a 19-yard touchdown pass and Rauch added the point after to make the score 14-0. The Power defense forced a second consecutive turnover on downs and capitalized two plays later when Grady found Kauleinamoku for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Rauch’s kick was good giving the Power a 21-0 lead.
Pittsburgh opened the second quarter scoring when defensive back Virgil Gray intercepted a Garcia pass and took the ball the length of the field for a franchise record 50-yard touchdown return, which was the AFL Highlight of the Game. Rauch added the extra point making the score 28-0. The KISS finally got on the board at the 3:34 mark of the quarter when Maurice Williams caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Garcia. The point after by Kenny Spencer was wide right. Pittsburgh would respond with Edwards scoring his second touchdown of the game from 17 yards. The score was also Grady’s fiftieth passing touchdown of the season. Rauch would make the extra point and give the Power a 35-6 lead. The KISS closed out the first half scoring on a Williams 3-yard touchdown catch with seven seconds remaining. Spencer converted the point after to send the game into halftime with the Power leading 35-13.
The Power scored the only touchdown of the third quarter when Goard reached over the boards for an acrobatic 6-yard touchdown catch from Grady, which earned him the Cutters Catch of the Game honor. Rauch kicked the extra point to extend the lead to 42-13.
LA scored midway through the fourth quarter on a Williams 9-yard touchdown reception to make the score 42-19. The KISS elected to go for the 2-point conversion, but Garcia’s attempt was intercepted by Hoke and returned the distance, which extended Pittsburgh’s lead to 44-19. Bryant then recovered the LA on-side kick attempt at the KISS 4-yard line. Grady found Edwards for his third score of the game two plays later, a 3-yard touchdown reception. With 5:06 remaining, the Power hit the half-century mark, leading 50-19. Rauch’s point after was wide right. The KISS scored the final points of the game with 1:29 left on a Raymond Radway 32-yard touchdown catch. Spencer added the point after to make the score 50-26.
Next up for the Power is a trip to Florida to face the Orlando Predators on Saturday, May 24. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm ET. The next Power home game will be Saturday, May 31 when they host American Conference – East Division leader Cleveland Gladiators. Kickoff at CONSOL Energy Center is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET. Both games will be broadcast on TribLIVE Radio and the Cleveland game will also air on thisTV Pittsburgh.