The L.A. KISS had not won a game in two months coming into Saturday's game.
The team's eight-game losing streak that was putting a damper on its inaugural season. However, surprisingly, the KISS was still in playoff contention in a weak division.
They helped their chances Saturday at the Honda Center by surging in the final minutes to beat the Portland Thunder, 69-61.
The KISS (3-9) jumped out to a 21-7 lead, led by quarterback Aaron Garcia, who threw for three touchdowns in the first half. The KISS defense dominated early on.
On Portland's first possession, which began deep in their own territory, defensive back Matt Estrada recovered a fumbled snap and returned it five yards for a touchdown to give the KISS a 14-0 lead five minutes into the game.
In the second quarter, linebacker Beau Bell recovered a botched kickoff return in Portland's endzone for a touchdown and put the KISS up, 35-13.
But the loss of defensive leader Romeo Pellum in the second quarter to an ankle injury left a hole in the KISS defense that Portland would exploit. Pellum did not return to the game.
Portland quarterback Kyle Rowley connected with Braylon Bell for a touchdown to make it 35-20. On the following KISS possession, Portland defensive back Bryce Peila intercepted a Garcia pass and returned it three yards for a touchdown.
On the next drive, Portland's Eric Crocker intercepted Garcia's pass in the endzone to prevent a KISS touchdown and gave the Thunder the ball with 3:49 left in the half. Portland's Darron Thomas scored on a three-yard run on the other end to bring his team within two.
But Garcia would steal back the momentum for the KISS with a 36-yard touchdown to Samora Goodson with six seconds left in the half to take a nine-point lead into the break.
The teams exchanged scores until the last seconds of the second half, but the KISS ultimately prevailed.
Garcia ended the night with 289 passing yards and five touchdowns. Goodson gave the KISS some much-needed offense with 171 yards and 2 touchdowns.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times