By Jose Bahena
The Carolina Cobras traveled to Jacksonville for a rematch of week one against the Sharks, the opening game that so far has been the only loss for the Carolina, and the only win for Jacksonville. The Sharks won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half and gave the Cobras the first possession, which Carolina would commit the first turnover on just the second snap of the game after a bobbled exchange between Chad Kolumber and Charles McCullum. The Sharks drive would end abruptly as Jacksonville’s newest quarterback Adrian Mcpherson would be intercepted by Michael Green after just one completed pass. The Carolina drive would run for nine plays and just three yards short of the end zone, McCullum’s pass was intercepted by Ken Walton of the Sharks. Another Sharks possession would end in a turnover, this time on an empty fourth and long situation, and the Cobras wouldn’t be able to capitalize as Craig Peterson’s field goal sailed wide left just before the end of the first quarter.
The next quarter saw Jacksonville’s offensive perk up and break the ice with a drive that ended in a rushing touchdown by Ross to take the first seven points of the game after a point after attempt. Not to be outdone, Carolina’s Tyron Laughinghouse would take the kickoff 57 yards back for a Cobras touchdown for six, with a missed PAT by Peterson. On kickoff Peterson redeemed himself by nailing a deuce and bring the score to 8-7 for Carolina. After a short Sharks drive, the cobras next one ended in an Interception by the home team once again making the fifth turnover of the contest. With halftime on the horizon, the Sharks made a switch at quarterback to see if Ryan Walker could get the offensive moving. With 56 seconds left in the half, Walker was able to string together enough passes to score for the Shark and leave only 28 seconds on the clock. McCullum went to work and with just eight seconds remaining he completed a 28 yard pass to the end zone to find a familiar name, Laughinghouse for a touchdown. A good extra point after and a successful deuce attempt by Peterson gave the Cobras a lead of 17-14 going into the locker rooms.
When play resumed, both teams looked to keep it close, as the visiting Cobras would get points of the second half after 12 minutes of play when McCullum found Laughinghouse again for a 15 yard touchdown pass. Peterson’s extra point would be no good and leave the score 23-14 for the Cobras. Feeling the pressure and not wanting to get too far behind, the Sharks moved back to McPherson at quarterback, a smart move as McPherson was able to find Wide Receiver Tom Gilson 30 yards down field for another Sharks touchdown and a good point after by Behr pulled the home team back within two points at 23-21.
Just as the third shifted over to the final quarter, The cobra throttled down and scored off a seven play drive to find Laughinghouse for his fourth touchdown of the night to pull away to 30-21 after the good kick by Peterson. Running low on steam, the sharks offense would be forced a fumble by Cobra’s defense. Looking to make the most of the situation, McCullum fired deep 40 yards to #10 Laughinghouse again, edging further away after Peterson found the Uprights on both the point after and the kick off deuce attempt leaving the sharks with the ball but down 39-21. The frustration started setting in for Jacksonville as McPherson’s pass across the middle was intercepted by Carolina’s Tony Pulu who ran it back for a pick six, adding insult to injury as the scoreboard crept up to 46-21 for Carolina. Jacksonville’s would turn the ball over once more, giving the Cobras a final opportunity to score as McCullum snuck into the end zone and let Peterson kick bring it to a 55-21 lead with just minutes left in the game. A final Jacksonville possession ending in a turnover on downs would give the Carolina Cobras the ball back with just five seconds to run off the clock and end the game.
The fading black eye the Sharks delivered on opening weekend was all but a memory for the Cobras now as they secure their third straight victory and move to 3-1 on the season as the Sharks slide to 1-3 overall. The Cobras will look to continue the winning streaking at home against the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in their Cinco De Mayo Saturday night game with a 7:00 pm kickoff. Tickets are available at the Greensboro Coliseum box office or Carcobras.com