GREENSBORO - The No. 2 Carolina Cobras (11-5) move on to the NAL championship after defeating the No. 3 Jacksonville Sharks (10-7), 73-48. A foul-ridden night for the Sharks, Jacksonville committed 22 penalties, with two players being ejected in the process, leading to their defeat tonight in Carolina. Carolina started the game quick, going on a 26-0 scoring streak, holding the lead for the entire game. The Cobras host the championship on Monday, August 27, at 7 E.T. against the No. 4 Columbus Lions (9-7), who just defeated the Massachusetts Pirates to advance to the final.
The first quarter was a rough one for the Jacksonville defense, which committed four fouls on Carolina’s opening drive, allowing the Cobras to easily move down the field for a touchdown from Phillip Barnett. Immediately following the score, Craig Peterson tacked on a deuce, taking the Cobras up to 9. The Sharks’ offense was slow to start the game, not able to convert a fourth down pass on their second set of downs, turning the ball back over to Carolina. Peterson capitalized off of the turnover, kicking a 22-yard field goal to extend the lead. The Sharks’ were stopped on offense once again, with kicker Brandon Behr’s 50-yard field goal attempt blocked. The Cobras, with their newborn opportunity, struck again, with McCullum throwing a dime to the back of the endzone to Barnett giving the Cobras a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
On the first play of the quarter, and the first of the Sharks’ new drive, quarterback Patrick McCain’s pass was bobbled by two of his receivers before being intercepted by Mike Green. The interception led to another touchdown reception from Barnett, his third of the night. Jacksonville’s offense made its way onto the board soon after the Cobras’ score, with quarterback Danny Southwick filling in for McCain under center. Southwick was able to move the ball down the field efficiently, finishing the drive with a toss to Cody Saul, who ran the ball into the endzone. Carolina quickly responded, with McCullum tossing another touchdown to a wide-open Barnett, who walked into the endzone. The Cobras’ defense came up big again on their next drive after Cedric Poole caught the ball from Southwick for an interception. With almost no time left in the half, Tyrell Goodman ran a shuttle-pass from McCullum into the endzone from three yards out. Tempers flared following the touchdown, and Jacksonville’s Seth Ellis was ejected from the game after throwing a referee’s flag into the stands, leaving his team to deal with their 39-7 halftime deficit.
The third quarter was a shoot-out between the two teams, with McCain returning for the Sharks, he and McCullum combined for seven touchdown passes, four from McCain and three from McCullum. Jacksonville was able to produce two successful onside kicks off of four attempts to give them an additional two possessions in the quarter. The Sharks’ efforts only cut their deficit by four, with the Cobras still leading 60-32.
Soon into the fourth, the Sharks suffered another loss, with Marvin Ross being ejected for his second unsportsmanlike-conduct foul. Following the foul and a turnover on downs on the same play, Carolina was able to easily make their way into the endzone after another catch-and-run touchdown from Goodman. The game ended after another touchdown caught by a wide-open Goodman, followed by two touchdown receptions from Sharks’ receiver Trevor Kennedy, sending the Cobras into the championship, winning with a score of 73-48.
ABOUT THE CAROLINA COBRAS
The Carolina Cobras are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2017, the Carolina Cobras will play their inaugural season in 2018 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Cobra Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (336) 445-7232 or visit carcobras.com. Follow the Cobras on Facebook at facebook.com/carcobras, twitter.com/carcobras and instagram.com/carcobras.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its second season in April of 2018. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org or Expansion Chairman Jeff Bouchy at email@example.com. For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/natiionalarenaleague.