Week 10 Recap: Cobras vs. Gunslingers
SAN ANTONIO—The Carolina Cobras fell just 2 yards shy of escaping San Antonio with a win when emergency quarterback James Summers was tackled short of the goal line in overtime, giving the Gunslingers a 61-60 upset victory. Quarterback Jonathan Bane threw for 279 yards and 5 touchdowns before exiting the game with 10:35 to play. Bane was hit after a bad snap on an extra point try, which resulted in a blocked kick and an injured starting quarterback. Nonplussed, Summers hit DJ Myers with a 25-yard touchdown and Zack Brown with another in a superb relief effort. Bane’s status for next week’s home matchup against Columbus was unclear following the game.
The Gunslingers (3-5) have now won 3 straight games following a transfer of ownership to the Rackley family, stalwarts in the San Antonio community. Quarterback Robert Kent, Jr (a spry 42 years old) tossed 7 touchdowns, 3 to Phillip Barnett, and passed for 291 yards- his lone mistake coming when Jeremiah Stovall intercepted a pass late in the first half. The resurgent San Antonio offense was aided by 5 defensive offside calls against the Cobras, some of which were questionable at best. The most costly of those penalties occurred on the game’s first drive, when the Cobras stopped the Gunslingers on 4th down, only to be called offside. Kent found Barnett in the endzone one play later and evened the score at 7.
The Cobras (7-3) remain in first place in the NAL with the loss, but had plenty of positives in the game despite having to finish shorthanded. Two Carolina players gained over 100 yards receiving: Lance Evans (8 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown) and D.J. Myers (7 catches for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns). In addition to his overtime touchdown reception that set up the fated two-point try, Brown also added another rushing touchdown to his season tally. Kendrick Ings and Tre Long also hauled in touchdown passes for the explosive Carolina offense.
San Antonio led 54-46 with 8:26 to play and smelled blood with Bane back in the Cobras’ training room. However, Summers found Myers for a 15-yard score and then ran in the subsequent two-point try to tie the game at 54 with 5:36 to play. Kent and Gunslingers then drove slowly down the field, all the way to the Cobras’ 13. The Carolina defense held, though, and turned the ball over on downs. The offense couldn’t move the ball and decided to go for it on their own 16 with less than a minute to play. Summers was sacked and San Antonio took over at the Cobras’ 13 with 45 seconds to play. Remarkably, Kent mishandled the snap on first-and-goal from the 1 and Brown pounced on it to give Carolina new life. Alas, regulation time ended with Myers being tackled at the Gunslingers’ 9-yard line after a long catch-and-run.
San Antonio took the ball first (starting from the Cobras’ 20) and scored on its first snap. The Cobras, in turn, were saved on fourth down by Brown’s 15-yard touchdown catch which set up a two-point try. Summers rolled left, looking for some room but found none in the stout San Antonio defense. In all, it was a gallant effort in the face of adversity, and the Cobras responded like champions.
Next week brings the Columbus Lions to town, in a revenge game from a few weeks ago. The Cobras have long memories and will be anxious to leave this week behind. Hopefully the fellas can gain a measure of revenge, and Bane is back at quarterback. Next week’s game is at the friendly confines of the Greensboro Coliseum at 7 p.m.