By Jose Bahena
The Carolina Cobras entered the Columbus Civic Center looking to extend their four game winning streak again the Columbus Lions on Saturday night.
The Cobras got the ball on offense to start the game. The first quarter of play started off slow with neither teams able to put points up on the board. The Lions were able to capitalize off a Cobras fumble with just 46 seconds left in the quarter and finally score 6 early in the second quarter, after a missed PAT kick. At home the Lions wanted to stretch the lead over the potent Cobras and would do just that by hitting another deep pass to make it 12-0 after yet another missed extra point by the Lions kicker Lindsey Wolfe. On the kick off Wolfe finally found the uprights for a deuce to reclaim the missed extra points and bring the score to 16-0.
Carolina took to the offense and cut the lead to 7-14 when quarterback Charles Mccullum found wide receiver Jordan Jolly open in the end zone for six with good extra point kick by Craig Peterson. The Cobras kick off unit would be able to put a few points on the board with Peterson hitting a deuce kick of his own. The Cobras defense was able to stifle Columbus and force a field goal try that would come up short and be ran back to the house for six more Cobras points by Defensive Back Cedric Poole. Peterson pulled the score to 16-14 in the Cobras favor.
The Lions would flip the scoreboard again with a one yard rush to make it 20-16 after another missed extra point kick. With time running low the Lions would try for an onside kick attempt, a mistake that the cobras with quickly punish them for by finding Jordan jolly on the receiving end of Mccullum’s pass for another cobras touchdown with only four seconds left in the half. Coupled with Peterson’s extra point attempt, the cobras would headed to the half-time leading 23-20.
As the third quarter kicked off, the Lions weren’t able to keep steam and Cobras defense stalled them out. Wolfe’s field goal was no good as it pinged off the upright, leaving Mccullum’s offense with a short field to find Phillip Barnett open for another touchdown making the score 30-20 after another Peterson kick after point. The Lions wouldn’t be silenced at home as they turned their next drive into points by finding a receiver open and Wolfe landing his first PAT to pull back within three points. The Cobras offense drove back down the field on the next possession and finally handed the ball to fullback Ricky Dowdy for Carolina first rushing touchdown of the night, Peterson’s kick gave the cobras a 10 point lead at 37-27.
Looking to close the gap, Columbus’ Mason Espinosa fired deep and hit pay dirt on a single play touchdown drive. Wolfe, finally in rhythm hit the PAT resulting in a 34-37 score.
Carolina went back to work on the offense and just a few plays later, Mccullum went back to Barnett for his second touchdown of the game to give the cobras their 10 point advantage back again. Durron Neal would be able to run in after a catch from Espinosa to Bring it back within a field goal for the home team. The Lions finally caught a break as they were able to hold the Cobras to a field goal on their next possession and keep the game at 47-41.
Running into the final minutes of the game, Carolina’s defense kept hot on the heels of the Lions and forced a turnover on downs, and let the offense convert the efforts into another Jordan Jolly touchdown for a 10 point lead once more. The clock seems irrelevant to Espinosa offense as they Marched down the field and put one more in the end zone to make it 48-54 with just 28 seconds left in the game. Mccullum’s offense would stall in the face of the Lion’s heavy defense and be forced to line up for a field goal with just nine seconds left.
To the chagrin of Cobras kicker Craig Peterson, his kick sailed wide right of the goal post, giving Columbus one final shot at winning the game. Espinosa refused to squander the final three second on offense, and find Jeremy Johnson on the corner of the end zone to tie the game with no time left in the game. Any woes of Lindsey Wolfe went out of mind as his extra point kick went straight between the goal post and secured the victory for his Lions.
The loss for the Cobras comes as their second of the year and moves them to 4-2 on the seasons, the Lions move up to 3-1. The Cobras will return to the Greensboro Coliseum to take on the Massachusetts Pirates on Saturday May 19th at 7pm. Tickets are available at the coliseum box office or by visiting Carcobras.com