Cobras four game win streak broken by a one point difference
Columbus – The Carolina Cobras came up short tonight 55-54 after the Columbus Lions’ miracle win in the last seconds of the game. Carolina was down by two scores shortly into the second quarter but came back quickly to take the lead for the majority of the game. Down by 13, with less than a minute left in the game the Lions were able to get a quick touchdown, a stop on defense with a missed field goal by Cobras’ kicker Craig Peterson, and hit the game winning touchdown as time expired to tie the game. Lions’ kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the game winning extra-point after having a rough first half kicking.
The game was very slow to start, with both Cobras’ quarterback Charles McCullum and Lions’ quarterback Mason Espinosa missing most of their targets. After both teams turned the ball over on downs many times the Cobras had the ball with under a minute left in the quarter, deep in their own territory. McCullum was sacked, fumbling the ball, giving the Lions great field position.
On the first play of the second quarter, capitalizing off of the good field position, the Lions’ Espinosa threaded the needle to wide receiver Jarmon Fortson for the first score of the game, putting the Lions up 6-0. The Cobras started to get things going on offense on their ensuing drive, getting all the way down to the Lions’ 1-yard line. A holding penalty backed them up 10 yards, however, and were not able to punch in for the score on fourth down, giving the ball back to Columbus. The Lions marched down the field and were able to convert a touchdown yet again to Fortson to make the score 12-0. Kicker Wolfe was able to make up for his two missed extra-point attempts by hitting a deuce on the next kick, putting the Lions up 14-0. Cobras’ McCullum really got into a rhythm on the next drive, with big passes to wide receiver Fabian Guerra and a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Jolly to cut the Lions lead in half. The Cobras continued this scoring streak after Peterson hit a deuce to reduce the Lions’ lead to five. Carolina’s defense came up big on the Lions’ next drive, forcing a three-and-out. The Lions’ field goal attempt was short and returned for a touchdown by defensive back Cedric Poole from the back of the endzone. Just like that the Cobras had the lead, 16-14. Columbus answered with yet another touchdown to Fortson with five seconds left in the half, and yet another missed extra-point attempt. It seemed that the half would end this way but a short squib kick on the ensuing kick-off gave the Cobras great field position with four seconds left on the clock. As time expired in the half McCullum and Jolly struck again with a touchdown that gave the Cobras the lead at half-time, 23-20.
Although Columbus started the second half with the ball, they were stopped in their tracks after a big third down sack by defensive lineman Dwayne Beckford. After a missed field goal by the Lions and a few quick passes by the Cobras, Carolina extended their lead to 10 after a touchdown reception by wide receiver Phillip Barnett. The Lions wouldn’t go away quietly, getting a quick touchdown to Fortson on the next drive. McCullum and company went to work again on the following drive with passes to Jolly and Tyron Laughinghouse to set up a rushing touchdown by Ricky Dowdy. Columbus struck back in a hurry though, throwing a 30-yard bomb on the first play of their next drive to wide receiver Tristan Purifoy. The Cobras finished the third quarter out with a touchdown to Barnett to make the score 44-34.
Columbus’ next drive resulted in a touchdown to wide receiver Durron Neal, after a critical fourth-and-ten conversion on the preceding play. Despite how hot the Cobras’ offense was since the second quarter they were kept out of the endzone on their following drive and had to settle for a field goal. The Cobras’ Jolly was able to get a touchdown on the next Cobras’ drive due to the Carolina’s defense doing its job and getting a stop on the Lions’ previous drive. The game seemed over now, with Carolina up 54-41 and hardly any time left on the clock. Columbus didn’t hesitate though, getting a touchdown with 28 seconds left and the extra-point, now down by six. After a failed on-side kick the Cobras now had the ball inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. With three timeouts in their pocket the Lions were able to keep the clock from running out and forced the Cobras to attempt a field goal. Peterson missed the field goal, leaving hope for the Lions with nine seconds left. On the first play of the drive the Lions hit a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field, who then lateralled the ball to another receiver to get some extra yardage. Deep in Carolina territory the Lions had one shot at the endzone with two seconds remaining. As time expired, Espinosa hit his man for the game-tying touchdown, followed by the game winning extra-point by Lindsey Wolfe. The Cobras four-game win streak is snapped after the Lions win 55-54.
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