Tuesday, May 5, 2015 | 12:56 p.m.
For the second “Rock Star Rivalry” match of this Arena Football League season, Vince Neil’s Las Vegas Outlaws handed another shellacking to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s L.A. Kiss. The first time three weeks ago, it was an away-game victory for the Outlaws in L.A. 61-48. Monday night on home turf at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Kiss went down again, this time 49-16.
It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Kiss owned by the two legendary KISS rockers. Add in their losing streak at the end of last season, and it is 11 consecutive losses. No wonder Gene was nearly silent and gruff when I met him in the stadium’s tunnel. Our colleague Las Vegas Sun sports reporter Case Keefer chatted with him.
Right from the kickoff, the Outlaws had control of the game. Receiver Gerald Young ran it back 56 yards for a touchdown within seconds of the start. It was a show that literally stunned the Kiss into submission; it certainly left them demoralized for the next two hours. And that was despite adding four players to take on their rock rivals.
Outlaws quarterback J.J. Raterink then had four touchdowns while the Kiss made three turnovers thanks to the Outlaws defense. It got worse, if you can believe it, after halftime when I think the Kiss didn’t even add one point to the scoreboard in the two 15-minute quarters. The 16 points just stood there in shock unable to move.
An enthusiastic crowd of nearly 6,000 included KISS fans in makeup who traveled from California, boxer Roy Jones Jr. and former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, who was a guest of Outlaws GM Bob Hewko. The Outlaws now move to 3-2 in their debut expansion team season.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue, who captured all the sights and scenes of the rock rivalry. After the game, the Dollar Loan Center trophy to mark the two-rock-team rivalry was presented to Vince, coach Aaron Garcia and the Outlaws.
Here’s the official AFL report of how Motley Crue frontman and Las Vegas resident Vince walked off the field with bragging rights:
The Las Vegas Outlaws (3-2) rebounded from a loss last week against the Jacksonville Sharks in Florida to earn a much-needed win Monday night over the L.A. Kiss (0-6), 49-16.
A reinvigorated Outlaws defense harassed Kiss quarterbacks Matt Bassuener and Joe Clancy throughout the game, preventing L.A. from getting into any kind of rhythm offensively. Bassuener was sacked four times in the first quarter alone. The Outlaws defense and special teams units were so stout to start the game, the offense did not even take possession until the second quarter.
LaDon Hudson showed off his Ironman skills in the second quarter, returning a Bassuener fumble 18 yards for an Outlaws score, while J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Year candidate Gerald Young once again demonstrated his game-breaking ability on special teams, returning a kickoff 57 yards for a score.
Las Vegas did struggle initially to get rolling on offense when they did finally get the ball, however. J.J. Raterink was under significant pressure and his receivers were often blanketed by a Kiss defense that, coming into the game, had allowed the most points in the league (286).
Still, what the Outlaws could muster offensively proved to be more than enough, as a Kenny Spencer field goal and touchdown receptions by Thyron Lewis and DeMarco Sampson in the first half was all the scoring L.A. would do.
The Outlaws scored on the first possession of the second half when Raterink hooked up with 300-pound offensive lineman Terrence Campbell for a touchdown, pushing their lead to 35-16. Three minutes later, after a Bassuener fumble was recovered by defensive end Mike Lewis, Raterink hit favorite target Jomo Wilson with a long ball to put the game out of reach.
The rivalry between the Outlaws and Kiss continues July 18 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with their final matchup of this season. On Saturday, the Outlaws play the Sabercats away in San Jose followed by a May 16 away game against the Arizona Rattlers. Their next Thomas & Mack home game is May 23 against the Spokane Shock.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.