Carolina Cobras Hook the Jacksonville Sharks 53-48 to go to 3-0.
By: DJ Wagner
Greensboro, NC - In the tenth episode all-time in the rivalry between the Carolina Cobras and the Jacksonville Sharks the Cobras were able to hold on and win 53-48, to take their record to 3-0 and drop the Jacksonville Sharks to 0-3 on the season which is a first in Sharks Franchise history. This also took the all-time series between these two teams at five wins each.
The Cobras won the opening toss and deferred to the second half. Rob Jones took the opening kickoff back 25 yards to give the Sharks great starting field position. On the first offensive play for the Sharks QB Malik Henry threw a pass which was initially batted by DJ Myers before being caught by Cobras DB/WR Tre Long who took it away from Devin Wilson, giving the Cobras the ball at their ten-yard line. The Cobras drove the 40-yards and QB Jonathan Bane took it in from one yard out and with the PAT, it was 7-0 Cobras, just four minutes into the game. After the kickoff went out of bounds, the Sharks took back over, but just one play and on an attempted bomb into the end zone, DB Cris Page came down with the INT to give the Cobras the ball at their 5 after the touchback. The Cobras drove the 45-yards, and Bane connected with Lance Evans from 34 yards out for the TD, and the Cobras were up 14-0 after the PAT, just two minutes later. The Sharks finally mounted a drive on their next possession, this time it was Malik Henry with the keeper from one yard out, the PAT was good, and it was 14-7 and that was our score at the end of the first quarter.
The Cobras started the second quarter with a FG by K TC Stevens, this one from 19 yards, and the Cobras extended their lead back to 17-7. The Sharks were able to answer back with a 45-yard drive and finished with Henry connecting with Kamrin Solomon for the TD from 4-yards away. The PAT was blocked by Micah Robinson, and it was 17-13 with about five minutes left in the half. The next Cobras drive did not go well as Bane was picked off by Markus Smith at the Jacksonville 20, the Sharks drove the 30 yards and Solomon had the two-yard rushing TD, with the PAT it was 20-17 Sharks with less than a minute to play, but the Cobras were able to drive and get a 23-yard FG by Stevens to knot the score at 20 going into the half.
The second half started with the Cobras with all the momentum, first returning the second half kickoff back to the Jacksonville 14 and finishing with Zack Brown with the three-yard TD Run, the Cobras were up 27-20, and would not trail again. The Cobras defense stood strong and stopped the Sharks on their next possession, making them go four and out. The Cobras then drove 28-yards and Bane finished the drive with his second rushing TD of the night from one yard out. With the PAT it was 34-20 Cobras. The Sharks drove out the last five minutes of the third quarter and our score was 34-20 going into the fourth.
The Sharks started out the fourth quarter with a fourth and goal and Henry was able to connect with Quayvon Hicks from five yards out to pull the score to 34-27 with the PAT, and there was 14:28 left in the game. The Cobras struck right back with Cris Page taking the kickoff from six yards deep and returning it 56-yards for the TD, the PAT was no good, so it was a 13-point game with 13:49 left. One minute later the Sharks answered back with Henry connecting with Rob Jones from 30-yards out, with the successful PAT, it was 40-34 Cobras. The Sharks tried to go for the onside attempt, but Walter Thomas was there to make the play and cover the kick, giving the ball to the Cobras on the Jacksonville 14. This drive led to the third FG of the night for TC Stevens, this one from 25-yards and the Cobras led 43-34. The Sharks kept fighting back with Henry connecting with Nyqwan Murray from 10 yards out and with the PAT, pulled to within 43-41. The Sharks tried to go with an onside kick again, this time it was DJ Myers who caught it, and after a Sharks penalty the Cobras started on the Sharks eight-yard line. Next play, Myers completes the drive with a TD catch from Bane from those eight yards away and with the PAT it was 50-41. In the matter of seven minutes the teams combined for 37 points. The next drive the Sharks started at midfield and were driving, when Cris Page came up huge with his second interception of the night, this time in the end zone cutting off the passing lane and taking the touchback. The Cobras were able to run the clock down to 33 second before TC Stevens came out for his fourth FG attempt, which just like the first two, was perfect, and the Cobras extended their lead to 53-41. The Sharks were able to tighten up the final score with a one-yard pass to Devin Wilson, and a successful PAT brought our final score to 53-48 and the Cobras go to 3-0, the Sharks fall to 0-3. The Cobras now have sole possession of first place in the NAL as the Columbus Lions had a bye this week.
The Stars of the Night for the Cobras:
Cris Page: two interceptions and a 56-yard kickoff return for a TD
TC Stevens: 4-5 on PATs and 4-4 on FG, the four FGs in a game crushed the previous team record of two made FGs in game, done twice for the Cobras.
Jonathan Bane 17-22-1 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns passing to go along with 2 more TDs rushing.
A more in-depth look at the stats breakdown will come Monday on After Further Review.
The Carolina Cobras (3-0) next travel to Orlando (1-2), who lost to Albany tonight by a 78-61 final, on Sunday May 15, with a 3pm kickoff.