Cobras TC Stevens Sinks Game-Winning Deuce
GREENSBORO, NC – It was an action-packed first night of 2023 Arena Football in the Snake Pit of Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the first time the Cobras faced the West Texas Warbirds in team history. As the battle began, both teams came out firing with passing touchdowns and to match the theme night it was a superhero-like battle between WR/DB Adam Smith and WR/DB/KR Jalen Childress as both had back to back scoring drives that pitted Adam Smith on two receiving touchdowns including a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Charles McCullum to Smith and the Warbirds Jalen Childress with a receiving touchdown and a kick return touchdown, his first of the season.
Both defenses stepped up from the high-scoring first quarter as Carolina was hit with a turnover on downs but miraculously the Cobras prevented a short-yardage West Texas touchdown thanks to WR/DB Kenny Veal who caught an interception in the endzone delivering Carolina the ball back. The human torch seemed to be passed to Veal as he would be the receiver to score the next offensive touchdown. All-NAL Defensive Back Kenny Veal continued to be a villain to the Warbirds quarterback as Veal snagged his second interception in the first quarter. The Cobras entered the second quarter 21-15 as a confident kicker TC Stevens felt right at home going 3/3 in points after attempts early in this game.
The Cobras continued to score as Charles McCullum threw his fourth touchdown pass to receiver Adam Smith, whose superman-like first half really took off as he collected his third touchdown of the night. Smith’s arch-enemy Jalen Childress scored his third touchdown but the Warbirds did not manage to get the extra point as big defensive lineman Walter Thomas blocked the kick. A big momentum shift hit the Cobras as a kick off the net dropped and a fumbled kick return led to a Warbirds recovery for a touchdown by WR/DB Jalen Wilson allowing West Texas to take the lead 34-28. Turnovers continued to plague the Cobras as a McCullum interception led to a Jalen Childress pick six, his fourth touchdown of the night and first defensive touchdown.
Down 40 to 28 the Cobras looked to avoid a home opening disaster by sparking a scoring series started with IRONMAN (FB/DL) Zack Brown. Brown continued to put on a show as his quarterback pressure led to an interception caught by Cobras WR/DB Kyrin Priester. An exciting end of the half took place as both teams exchanged interceptions under one-minute of play as McCullum interception caught by defensive back Savante Davenport and another interception caught by Cobras Kenny Veal, his third of the night put the Cobras in scoring position. All it took was a short pass from McCullum to receiver Lance Evans for the receiving touchdown to revamp this Cobras crowd with a 42-40 Carolina lead going into half time. Into the 3rd quarter, West Texas came out blazing with a passing touchdown from quarterback Daniel Smith to star receiver Jalen Childress putting West Texas ahead 48-42. Backup quarterback Malik Henry got the start in the second half, Henry built a string of completions between receivers Adam Smith and Lance Evans but did not succeed in securing a scoring drive in his first series.
Cobras entered the fourth quarter down by six as Fuller rallied the team for a big final quarter in this close game. Henry remained at the helm and gained his first touchdown of the night with a 10-yard touchdown pass to “THE FLASH” Adam Smith who amassed his fourth touchdown of the night on that play. A near perfect TC Stevens missed his first PAT of the night after making six in a row, Cobras and Warbirds were tied neck and neck 48-48 with 10-minutes left to play. Despite the positive momentum, the “Jalen Childress Show” continued as he caught his fifth touchdown catch and seventh overall touchdown. With three-minutes left in the fourth quarter quarterback Malik Henry drove the Cobras down the field and inside the redzone showcased a fake-pass handoff to DL/FB Kevin Voyles for a rushing touchdown, Voyles second touchdown this season. Late in the game a huge pass breakup by Cobras defensive lineman Christopher Cain pinned the Warbirds onto a critical fourth down in a ROARING Snake Pit. With fans on their feet West Texas quarterback Daniel Smith dropped back scrambled….. Taking huge hits from multiple Cobras lineman to avoid the sack he launched the ball deep into the endzone while getting thrown to the turf, the ball reaching the endzone was batted off the hands of a Cobras defensive back right into the hands of WR/DB Jalen Wilson to put the Warbirds up. It seemed like all was lost until quarterback Malik Henry saved the day with a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jalen Rima who had a quiet game but caught the most critical scoring play for the Cobras.
Stevens lined up on kickoff with his eyes aimed to the uprights, in attempt to kick a game-winning deuce, fans heard the thumbs the ball launched into the air and went straight through the uprights into the net, Cobra Nation stood in awe, TC Stevens made the Deuce the COBRAS WON THE GAME, in the Snake Pit! The Carolina Cobras clinch their first 2023 win at home 64-62, the incredible victory marks head coach Fuller’s first win as head coach as the team goes 1-1 into week 3.
The heroes of tonight's game include the flashy performance by wide receiver Adam Smith who ended the night with four receiving touchdowns. Ironman WR/DB Kenny Veal who had his first hat-trick of the year with three interceptions and one receiving touchdown. The incredible LEG of TC Stevens who went 8 for 9 in point after attempts and sinking the game winning deuce! We cannot end this article without mentioning the quarterback that saved the day Cobras Malik Henry who threw two touchdown passes in the second half including the clutch 20-yard pass to receiver Jalen Rima that allowed the Cobras to tie the game before the game-winning deuce flew through the uprights.
The victory will be long-lived as the Cobras enter a week 3 bye week before they return to the snake pit in week 4 to face the defending NAL Champion Albany Empire (1-0). The Cobras (1-1) will kickoff against the Empire Sunday, April 30 right here in the Snake Pit with kickoff set for 3pm. For tickets call: 336-455-7232 or visit carolinacobras.com
ABOUT THE CAROLINA COBRAS
The Carolina Cobras are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2017, the Carolina Cobras are starting their sixth season in 2023 and were the 2018 National Arena League Champions. The Cobras play their home games at the Greensboro Coliseum. Cobra Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (336) 445-7232 or visit carolinacobras.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 seventh season in 2023. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.