May 16 2014 ISN – PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Power (5-3) host the LA KISS (2-6) in “NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday” action this Saturday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. Andrew Catalon, Sherdrick Bonner and Randy Gatewood will be on the call from the Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh strung together their second-consecutive win in Week 9, defeating the Shock, 52-41. LA will look to bounce back from a tough 45-42 loss to the undefeated Gladiators in Week 9, as Cleveland’s kicker nailed a 16-yard field goal as time expired for the win.
Power quarterback Tommy Grady completed 33-of-55 passes for 285 yards and seven touchdowns against the Shock in Week 9. Grady, who was the 2012 AFL MVP, has completed a League-high 206 passes this season, 47 of which have been touchdowns. His top target has been Shaun Kauleinamoku, who has caught a touchdown pass in each of the last four games. The four-year veteran hauled in 13 passes for 150 yards in Week 9. Fellow receiver Rodney Wright has also stepped up this season, recording a touchdown catch in three consecutive games and posting 12 receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns against the Shock.
The KISS will rely on newly acquired quarterback Aaron Garcia, whom they added to the roster this past week in exchange for quarterback J.J. Raterink, who started the first eight games of the season for LA. The 43-year-old Garcia holds every major AFL passing record with 60,471 passing yards, 1,310 touchdowns, 4,877 completions and 7,530 attempts. Garcia will look to energize the offense with help from leading receiver Donovan Morgan, who eclipsed 8,000 career receiving yards in Week 9 and has caught a touchdown pass in 10 straight games dating back to last season. Playmaker AJ Cruz has also proven to be a bright spot for the KISS, averaging 21.5 kickoff return yards in three games with the team. A three-time All-Ivy selection as a defensive back at Brown University, Cruz lined up at receiver for the first time in his career last week, hauling in five receptions for 24 yards and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Power boast the top pass defense in the League, holding opponents to an average of only 226.6 yards per game through the air. The stifling defense is thanks in large part to defensive back Virgil Gray who snagged his seventh interception of the season in Week 9. The five-year veteran has also recorded 14 pass breakups in 2014.
Pittsburgh will have to be aware of KISS Mac linebacker Beau Bell, who has collected a League-leading 10 sacks this season. The 2007 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the year also recorded his first interception of the season in Week 9. Bell is on pace to break the AFL single-season sack record of 16.