The Carolina passing combination of Charles McCullum to Jordan Jolly put on a show, connecting five times for touchdowns as the Cobras rolled to a 50 - 22 victory in the Greensboro Coliseum over the Pirates to go to 2-0 on the season. The defending National Arena League champions held the Pirates offense to 22 points for the second consecutive week.
Pirates kicker Tyler Raussa put the opening kickoff through the uprights for a 2-0 lead. Those were the only points Massachusetts (0-2) would score in the first half. The lead lasted for one minute as McCullum hit Jolly with a five yard strike to give Carolina (2-0) a lead it would never give up. The Cobras capitalized on a Pirates mistake as a lateral pass from quarterback Sean Brackett to wide out Mardy Gilyard was recovered By Carolina defensive back Michael Green. On the very next play McCullum and Jolly had their second score of the night with a 23 yard pass and a 13-2 advantage with 7:53 to play in the first quarter. The Cobras then were awarded an Uno as the ensuing kickoff by Nick Belcher hit the upright and rebounded into the field of play where James Summers of Carolina recovered the loose ball. The first quarter ended 14-2 Cobras.
The only Carolina touchdown pass that was not caught by Jolly was pulled in from three yards out, just 52 seconds into the second quarter by Summers and the Cobras led 20-2. Summers finished with two receptions for 42 yards and the touchdown.
Cobras DB Green and Pirates defensive back Lawrence Austin then each came up with interceptions, which kept the score respectable in the first half, but with 8:42 remaining McCullum hit Jolley with a ten yard strike and at the break the Cobras led 27-2.
The Pirates scored first in the third quarter as Brackett who was 19 of 41 for 150 yards and two interceptions, found Lavon Pearson for his first touchdown catch of the season. Pearson was the Pirates leading receiver on the night with eight catches for 45 yards and the one score. The three yard toss closed the margin to 27-9 with 10:10 to play in the third quarter. On the next play from scrimmage Jolly went over the wall along with Pirates defensive back Austin. Somehow Jolly held on to the football and the 30 yard play put the Cobras up 34-9 with 9:39 left in the third.
The Pirates showed signs of life as with 3:11 remaining in the quarter Brackett led Gilyard over the wall in the corner of the end zone with a four yard toss and the Pirates were down 34-15. Carolina got those points back on the next possession as Jolly caught this fifth score of the night on another 30 yard scoring play. Jolly finished up with seven receptions for 116 yards and five touchdowns. Belcher added a duce and through three quarters the Cobras led 43-15.
Brackett threw his third touchdown pass of the night in the final quarter, a 10 strike to Gilyard with 8:41 remaining in the game. For Gilyard it was his second score of the night and fourth of the season, making the tally 43-22. Gilyard had four receptions for 44 yards and the pair to TD’s. The Cobras added the final points of the evening as McCullum scored on a one yard run. McCullum finished the game 13 of 28 for 230 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.
The Cobras are now 4 and 1 all-time against the Pirates and a perfect 3-0 against Massachusetts in the Greensboro Coliseum. The Pirates now have lost three games for the first time in franchise history which includes last years’ playoff loss to end the season. The Cobras have now won their last six games and their last five at home.
The Pirates will look for their first win of the season on Saturday night at the DCU Center when they face the Orlando Predators.
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