The Cobras showed no mercy last night in Greensboro, completely dominating the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. At the end of the first quarter, they led 30-0 with running just three offensive plays and a pick six by Jermaine Jones. A defense that "can't go no respect" as Rodney Dangerfield would say, played with a chip on their shoulder, ended up with seven interceptions and seven sacks. Leading the way on defense, Tyrell Gollman had three of the interceptions and Dwayne Beckford had five sacks.
Trying to catch the Cobras off guard, the Steelhawks started off with an onside kick, Charles McCullum took advantage of the good field position, connecting with Tyron Laughinghouse on the first offensive play. After the PAT and kickoff by Craig "the leg" Peterson, the Steelhawks first offensive series would be short lived, with Jermaine Jones picking off the second play and returning it for a touchdown. Shortly after, it would be Cedric Poole's turn to pick off the Steelhawks. On their second offensive play, once again, McCullum found Laughinghouse in the end zone, and Peterson adding the PAT and duece on the kickoff quickly made the score 23-0. On their next offensive series, it would be Gollman, making the first of his three interceptions, setting up McCullum to find Phillip Barnett this time. The Steelhawks started to make some noise but was quickly quieted when Darius picked off McClain in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Within minutes of the second quarter starting, McCullum found Jordan Jolly giving the Cobras a 37-0 lead after Peterson made the PAT. After the kickoff, the Steelhawks quarterback would be picked off by Gollman for his second one, setting up McCullum to go yard again, this time to Fabian Guerra. The Steelhawks would make a quarterback change but this proved to be futile, with Poole intercepting him on the ensuing drive. Peterson would miss a late field goal, giving the Steelhawks the ball for a few seconds before halftime, down 44-0.
The Steelhawks would receive the ball starting the third quarter but Coach Schmidt's defense would shut down the Steelhawks, with Dwayne Beckford getting a sack on third down. The Steelhawks field goal attempt from their own end zone would be blocked out the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. On the next drive, we saw McCullum going deep from Carolina's 20-yard line to Guerra, who fought and would not be denied his second touchdown of the game. After another defensive stop, the offense went back to doing what they had done all night, this time to Barnett, padding the Cobras lead, 59-0.
In firm control of the game, Coach Back rested McCullum and gave wide receiver/back-up quarterback, Jordan Jolly the fourth quarter snaps. Jolly handle the ball well, rushing for a touchdown while escaping the Steelhawks defense. Which was set up by Gollman's third pick of the night. In the final moments of the game, the Steelhawks drove down field loooking to put some points on the board to avoid a shutout. After a touchdown was called back due to an offensive penalty, the Steelhawks would deny the Cobras the shutout by kicking a field goal with four ticks left on the clock. Final score: 65-3.
To the Steelhawks defense, they are in the midst of personal changes, playing their third and fourth string quarterback's last night. That does not deminish a strong defensive standing from what has been an underrated defense. Which will get its chance to show what they can do against a strong offense next Saturday when the Cobras travel south to square off against what is arguably the best offense in the NAL this season, in the Columbus Lions.
If you are in the area next Saturday night, come out to the Columbus Civic Center to see what is no doubt going to be an exciting game between two dominant teams. Doors open at 6:00, kickoff is at 7:00.