Cobras Strike Empire in Season Opener 59-51
Cobras Return to Greensboro 1-0
Post Game Recap By: DJ Wagner
GREENSBORO, NC - The Cobras traveled to Albany and beat the champs on their Banner Night by a score of 59-51 to open the 2022 Season to start off the season 1-0. This talk in the preseason was that this could be a preview of the 2022 NAL Championship and this game lived up to the hype as it was back and forth from the start, until halftime. Now to the highlights:
Albany won the opening toss and chose to get the ball first, and the Cobras defense stood up strong with Micheaux Robinson and Kendrick Ings making huge pass breakups and causing the Empire to go four and out and giving the Cobras the ball on the Albany six-yard line. The Cobras went those six yards and Jonathan Bane kept it from one-yard out to open the scoring for the Cobra, TC Stevens was good on the PAT and it was 7-0 Cobras. On the next drive Nick Haag fumbled on a rush, it was caused by Zack Brown and recovered by Adam Smith, but the Cobras could not capitalize on the turnover and turned it over on downs. Fafaul was successful on the next drive, connecting with Darius Prince, they went for two and failed, so it was 7-6 Cobras. The Cobras finished the first quarter with a nice 30-yard drive with Bane to Ings from 11-yards out for the TD, Stevens was good again with PAT and it was 14-6, which is where we ended the first quarter.
The second quarter was absolutely explosive with 48 combined points scored. Fafaul connected with Prince again, this time from 22-yards out and with another failed 2pt attempt it was 14-12 Cobras. On the next drive, after a tipped pass at the line it was intercepted by Nick Haag at the Albany 5, one play later was a quick drop off to Antwane Grant, who weaved his way through the Cobras Defense for the 45- yard TD catch and run. The PAT by Marc Orozco was good and it was 19-14 Empire. That lasted for one play as Bane connected with DJ Myers for 40-yards and the TD and the Cobras go right back up 21-19. Fafaul quickly answered back with a 12-yard connection to Grant, another failed 2pt conversion led to a 25-21 Empire lead. The Cobras answered right back, with Bane connecting with Trevante Long from 38 yards out, and Micah Robinson ran in the 2pt conversion to make it 29-25 Cobras, but that didn’t last long. On the ensuing kickoff Darius Prince ran it back 50 yards for a TD, and with yet another failed 2pt conversion failure, it was 31-29 Empire. With less than a minute to go in the half, Bane connected again with Ings for another TD from 18 yards out, James Summers received the 2pt conversion and it was 37-31 with about 45 seconds left in the half. The Empire drove the field, but Ings made a huge defensive stop on Tiberius Lampkin to keep the Empire out of the end zone and it was 37-31 Cobras at the half.
At the end of the halftime break the Empire took a few extra minutes dropping their 2021 NAL Championship banner and that seemed to fire up the Cobras as they would never trail again. The Cobras got the ball to start the second half and drove right down the field, Bane to Ings again, this time from 17 yards, and DJ Myers with the 2pt reception to go up 45-31. The first offensive snap for the Empire was disaster for them, as Walter Thomas Jr batted the pass at the line and Long intercepted it and returned it 46 yards for the TD, the Cobras missed the 2pt conversion and it was 51-31 Cobras. The Empire attempted to come back, with Mike Fafaul with the 1 yard keeper for the TD, the PAT was no good and it was 51-37 Cobras, the next drive for the Cobras had Bane throwing in interception off the top of the end zone wall by Darius Prince, but on the first play for the Empire, Zack Brown had the strip/sack and also recovered the ball in the end zone for the second defensive TD of the night. That made it 57-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with a 2pt attempt from the Cobras and it was Bane with the keeper to make it 59-37 Cobras. The Cobras did a masterful job of running down the clock in the fourth quarter and the defense just gave up two more scores, first a Fafaul pass to Prince for his 3rd receiving TD of the night, again the 2pt failed and it was 59-43 Cobras. Fafaul connected again, this time to Grant for his 3rd receiving TD of the night, this time the 2pt was good to Grant and it led to the final score of the game 59-51 Cobras.
Stars of the game for the Cobras:
Jonathan Bane 18-32 for 242 yards and 5 touchdowns passing, along one TD rushing, to go with 3 INTs.
Kendrick Ings 7 receptions for 79 yards and 3 touchdowns
DJ Myers 7 receptions for 111 yards and 1 touchdown
Trevante Long with 1 reception for 38 yards and a TD and 1 interception for 46 yards and a touchdown
Walter Thomas with 2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 pass deflections (one leading to an INT for a TD)
Micheaux Robinson led the team with 8 tackles including 1 for a loss and 3 pass break ups.
Zack Brown with 5 rushes for 17 yards, 2 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and the fumble recovery fot the TD
The home opener for your 1-0 Carolina Cobras is Saturday, April 30th against the Orlando Predators, time to FILL THE PIT!! Get your friends and neighbors or even strangers you meet around town and get them to the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday night! Tickets available through ticketmaster and of course you can call 336-455-7232 to get them that way too! 2022 is shaping up to be a special season, make sure you don’t miss a second of it!