GREENSBORO - The Carolina Cobras have come back from the dead-on Halloween in July night, snapping their two-game losing skid after defeating the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 78-9. All sides of the ball were in favor of the Cobras, with the offense scoring seven touchdowns, the defense scoring two touchdowns and three safeties, and special teams scoring two deuces. The only downside in the Cobras win was quarterback Charles McCullum going down in the second quarter due to a back injury but is not expected to be out for the next game. He was replaced by the very capable Jordan Jolly, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two on his own. Carolina is now 3-0 against the Steelhawks, with one more match-up between the two in two weeks in Allentown. This win also sends the Cobras into the playoffs, eliminating the Maine Mammoths from contention. “The key to the game was the defensive line, they really got after the ball,” said defensive coordinator Brian Schmidt.
Carolina ruled the first quarter, with McCullum throwing touchdowns to Jolly, and Phillip Barnett. The defense came up with a touchdown of their own as time expired in the quarter after the Steelhawks’ offense fumbled a snap away to defensive back Anthony Ellis, who took the ball in for a score. Cedric Poole of the Carolina defense produced an interception as well, which set the Cobras up for one of their touchdowns. Special teams performed perfectly as well, blocking a Steelhawks’ field goal attempt, going 3-for-3 on extra-points, and tacking on a deuce after one of their many touchdowns, putting them up 26-0 going into the second.
The Cobras kept on plowing through the Steelhawks until late into the quarter after Craig Peterson hit his second deuce of the night, Barnett made another touchdown reception, Ellis returned another fumble for a touchdown, and the Cobras defense was able to produce two safeties. Horror struck for the Cobras, however, after McCullum suffered a bruise on his lower back, keeping him out of the remainder of the game. Both teams experimented with different quarterbacks during the rest of the game, with Lehigh Valley switching between Patrick Ryan, Derrick Macon, and Charles McClain, while the Cobras started with Tyrell Goodman, then switched to Jolly. The half ended 46-0 after Carolina blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt by Steelhawks kicker Spencer Hotaling.
Lehigh Valley was finally able to get themselves on the board in the third, but not before Jolly rushed for a touchdown and threaded the needle between two defenders for a 20-yard touchdown to Goodman. A 42-yard touchdown from Macon to Daryl Boggan put the Steelhawks on the board, and a deuce by Hotaling cut the Steelhawks’ deficit to 51 points. Another safety by the Carolina defense put the Cobras up 62-9 at the end of the quarter.
The game finished with Carolina on top 78-9 after Peterson’s 24-yard field goal, Goodman’s second touchdown reception, and Jolly rushing for his second touchdown of the night.