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COURTESY: LOS ANGELES KISS - Portland Steel quarterback Shane Austin sets up to pass during Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles KISS.Just when it looked like the Portland Steel might win their first game of the season, two kickoffs that caromed off the end zone bar derailed them.


Portland was leading 42-41 midway through the fourth quarter Saturday night at Honda Center in Anaheim, California, after the Los Angeles KISS missed what would have been a tying PAT.

Los Angeles recovered the ensuing kickoff in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown, however. And the KISS recovered the subsequent kickoff after it, too, bounced wildly off the bar.

L.A. went on to score again to take a 55-42 lead inside the final minute.

The KISS intercepted the Steel at the goal line moments to sew up a 54-42 victory before an announced crowd of 7,150.

The strange turn of events left the Steel with an 0-8 record, the last seven losses coming on the road.

Portland’s next game is back at the Moda Center, 7 p.m. Friday, June 3 against the Tampa Bay Storm.

Quarterback Shane Austin threw five touchdown passes Saturday. Austin, who was 23 of 42 with only the end-game interception, also ran for a score.

Tom Gilson caught 12 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, giving him 10 or more in four consecutive games, the longest streak in the AFL.

Tyrone Goard, the other featured member of a banged-up Portland receiving corps, caught four TD passes, tying his AFL career high. He finished with nine receptions for 103 yards.

The KISS (4-4) got six TD passes from Pete Thompson, with Donovan Morgan scoring four times on seven catches for 100 yards.

The teams were tied at 28-28 through two quarters, and Portland led 35-28 after three periods on an 8-yard TD toss from Austin to Goard.

The KISS scored early in the fourth quarter, but Portland reclaimed the lead, 42-35, when Austin hit Gilson one-on-one down the left side, with the receiver flipping over the boards after securing the 21-yard pass.

L.A.’s big fullback, Rory Nixon, got into the end zone on a reception and short TD run, but after a personal foul on the KISS on the PAT, a re-kick from 10 yards farther was wide right, leaving Portland with a 42-41 lead at the 7:03 mark.

But on the kickoff, the ball bounced off the bar, and return man Christian Wise couldn’t come up with it for Portland. Instead, the KISS recovered in the end zone to take a 48-42 lead with 5:48 remaining.

Another weird bounce, very long off the bar, on the ensuing kickoff led to a KISS recovery at the 19-yard line — an insurance touchdown.

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