by Jose Bahena
The Carolina Cobras visited the Maine Mammoths in Portland for the second time this season, looking to bounce back after a dismal performance at home last week.
The Mammoths took to the field at the Cross Insurance Arena and struck quickly to beat the Cobras secondary for a touchdown pass. Taking to the turf on the offense, the Cobras first possession would stall out quickly, leaving the Mammoths with just 10 yards to make for another touchdown. That touchdown came to fruition for the home team but was called back by flags, and the Cobras defensive efforts held them to just a field goal to give Maine a 10-0 lead. Again on the offense, Carolina’s drive would fizzle out once again on a fourth and fifteen.
The setback left Craig Peterson trying a 43 yard field goal kick that ultimately veered wide of the goal posts and put the defense back on alert. Maine’s quarterback Jonathan Bane was having his way with the Cobras defense striking quickly for 28 yards straight to the end zone. Carolina was down 17 to nothing with the first quarter quickly evaporating. Charles McCullum of the Carolina Cobras tried to find yardages with the pass to wide receiver Jordan Jolly on the first play of the drive. Indicative of the evening so far, the ball was bobbled by Jolly and fumbled away to a Maine defender and gave the home team another shot at spreading the score in the next quarter.
Bane’s offense had the ball to start the second 15 of play, and wasted no time chipping away at the goal line for a hand-off to the end zone. The extra point after the touchdown dropped into the goal posts and forced the Cobras to one of the largest deficits they’ve seen this season at 24-0. Still searching for their first touchdown, the Cobras trotted back on the the field for the next Carolina drive. Despite a series of incompletions the Cobras were able to string together enough positive yards to claim a touchdown. It was McCullum himself being pushed across the goal line for six points. Peterson hit the extra point to reel the score back to 7-24.
On the kickoff, Peterson nailed a deuce kick to add two points for the Cobras and pin the Mammoths at their own five yard line. The monumental task proved too much for the Mammoths, as their drive would stop far short on a fourth and 13. In need of a spark, Carolina’s offense took advantage of the short field and McCullum was able to sneak a pass into the arms of Tyron Laughinghouse for a touchdown. The extra point attempt by Peterson was a drop kick attempt that was no good and left the Cobras down 15-24. Peterson’s leg would again let Carolina down on the attempted onside kick that sailed over the wall, resulting in a Mammoths possession with just 48 seconds left in the half.
Not wasting any ticks of the clock, Maine delivered on the ensuing drive for another touchdown. The Scoreboard at Cross Insurance Arena lit up for 31 point for the home team after the reception. The final offensive gathering of the half for the Cobras ended in disaster, as McCullum was intercepted with 13 seconds still left on the clock. Two plays later and the Maine Mammoths would have another open man for touchdown before ending the half. Heading into the locker rooms with a comfortable lead of 37-15 even after a botched extra point kick.
After the Intermission the Cobras tried to shake the first half blues. A long drive still left McCullum’s offense coming up empty as a pass to Jordan Jolly was stripped away and recovered by Maine.Pushing the Cobras defensive unit back up the field, the Mammoths picked apart the defense again for another touchdown. A big effort by the special teams blocked the extra point but still left Carolina drowning 43-15.
A shaken Cobras offense trotted back out to dig themselves out of a huge hole. Chunk yardage passing plays kept the Cobras within striking distance, but again McCullum was denied when the drive ended with a pass intercepted in the end zone. Continuing the dominant trend, the Mammoths bullied the Cobras back down, punching through the goal line for a rushing touchdown. For the second time the extra point was blocked by Carolina, a small victory as the score stood at 49-15.
As the deflated Cobras tried again on the offense a small spark would take hold. McCullum’s crew was able to move the sticks down the field and finally hit McCullum’s second passing touchdown of the night when Tyrell Goodman was the open man in the Maroon end zone. Down 26 and needing points desperately, the Cobras head Coach Billy Back dialed up a two point conversion. The 2 point pass sailed over the head of every receiver and over the back wall of the end zone leaving the Mammoths squarely in the driver’s seat with a score of 21-49. On the kick off it was another onside kick by Peterson, this time staying in the field of play but still recovered by Maine at the nine yard line. The walk in the park continued for Maine as they easily completed the pass from Bane for another touchdown. The extra point kick ricocheted off of the upright and out but still leaving the score in favor of the Portland team 55-21.
The Cobras were playing for little more than pride with just 60 seconds left in the game. Burning up 34 seconds off the clock on the drive, Fullback Jordan Mosely was able to charge across the goal line for another Carolina rushing touchdown. Coach Back pulled out the two point Conversion again, this time it was caught across the line by the big Offensive Lineman Anthony Jackson. Clock winding down the score sat at 29-55. Maine simply ran off the remaining time to nail the coffin shut on the Carolina Cobras.
The Loss drops the Carolina Cobras to 7-4 and to fourth place in the National Arena League. The Maine Mammoths move up to 3-8 on the season but remain in fifth place in the standings. After returning home to North Carolina, the Cobras will have another bye week before setting up shop at the Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday, July 14 to take on the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. Tickets for the next home game will be available at Carcobras.com or by visiting the Greensboro Coliseum box office.