GREENSBORO, N.C. – On Saturday night, the Carolina Cobras – Greensboro’s resident arena football team – faced off against the Columbus Lions at the Coliseum for a place in the playoffs.
It was a tense and fast-paced affair, with the Cobras out for blood. This was because the Lions had beaten the Cobras twice, gaining three extra points in the process. The night began with an entertaining walk-in by the Cobras, complete with a fireworks show. The Cobras were introduced one by one and then sent through a gauntlet of their teammates.
The opening phases were a fairly arduous affair for both the Cobras and the Lions. The Lions immediately scored a two-point kickoff and started the Cobra’s drive from their own five-yard line. The Cobras used two timeouts in the first drive and were slowly advancing forward at a snail’s pace.
Eventually, the Cobras were within one yard of the end zone and scored the first touchdown of the night. Peterson, the kicker, failed to convert the kick – and would continue to do so for the majority of the night.
The Lions’ response was a failed drive, turning the ball over with no points gained. The Cobras then scored another touchdown, probably one of the more exciting touchdowns of the night. McCollum, the QB, threw the ball into the end zone from 27 yards. Here, he found Tyrell Goodman, his wide receiver, to be open, netting the Cobras yet another touchdown.
The game then fell into a fairly points-heavy tug of war until halftime. At the half, the Cobras lead the Lions with a delicate 26-17 lead. In the third period, the Cobras had the Lions figured out. Columbus began making mistakes out of frustration. One of them was the fault of the number two on the Lions, Tyler Stephenson, getting frustrated and touching the referee.
This earned the Lions a ten-yard penalty, and it was not the first of the night. The Lions would tally up a total of 96 penalty yards over the course of the game. The Cobras began scoring, with the gap between the two teams growing with every failed drive that the Lions produced.
The Lions were outclassed by a motivated Cobra offense. An example of this was McCollum again reaching out and finding Fabian Guerra from around 35 yards. Guerra wasn’t watching the ball, but he glanced over his shoulder, guess-estimated where the ball would end up and caught the ball over his shoulder. An electrifying cheer rocked the stadium for a solid 60 seconds.
By the middle of the fourth period, the Lions knew how this fairytale was going to end, and the Cobras were going to rescue the princess. The Lions didn’t give up, however, and kept battling through. There was a nigh-constant buzz about the stadium following Guerra’s catch in the middle of the third period. The crowd cheered heartily with every touchdown put in by the Cobras, booed the referees and chatted excitedly for the remainder of the game. When the final whistle blew, the Cobras had comfortably won the game, 56-35, securing a spot in the playoffs. McCullum finished the game with 246 yards passing and four touchdowns.
The next steps for the Cobras will be their next match against the Jacksonville Sharks. The match will be in Greensboro on Aug 14 at 7 p.m. If you haven’t come out and seen Greensboro’s football team yet, now is the time to support them and your city.