Super heros were out in force last night to watch the matchup between the Carolina Cobras(7-2) and the Jacksonville Sharks(5-3). What started as a close matchup, the Cobras defense found the kryptonite needed to shut down the Sharks offense in the second half.
The Sharks would win the coin toss and elect to defer to the second half, giving the Cobras the ball to start the game. Charles McCullum and the offense would strike quickly, finding Jordan Jolly on a 30 yard touchdown pass. Craig Peterson would make the PAT. On the Sharks opening drive, the Cobras defense stod tall and forced a turn over on downs. I would be short lived, with Marvin Ross intercepting McCullum in the endzone. On the next play, Adrain McPherson would fumble the snap and Dwayne Beckford would recover in the endzone for a defensive touchdown. Peterson's PAT would be block and returned by Dallas Jackson for 2 points. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, McPherson would find Chris Gilchrist for a 30 yard touchdown and with Brandon Behr adding the PAT, the score was 13-9 in favor of the Cobras.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Sharks defense would break through and sack McCullum for a safety. Peterson, would get those two points back by hitting the deuce. The Cobras defense would make another stand, forcing another turn over on downs on the 2 yard line. McCullum would find Phillip Barnett for an easy touchdown and Peterson would hit another PAT. The Sharks next drive would end with Ken Walton picking off McPherson in the endzone, giving the offense the ball on the 4 yard line. Ross would pick off McCullum again on a deep pass to Jolly, that set up McPherson to find Gilchrist again and Behr would connect on the PAT and the deuce. The next drive, the fans would see the Cobras turn the ball over on downs but the defense would hold the Sharks to just a field goal with less than two minutes left in the half. The Sharks tried to catch the Cobras sleeping by attempting an onside kick to no avail. McCullum took advantage of the good field position, finding Fabian Gurrea for a 14 yard touchdown. Peterson out of character missed the PAT. Michael Green would close out the half by going up for an interception in the endzone, protecting the Cobras 28-23 lead at the half.
Whatever Coach Schmidt said to his defense at halftime proved to be what they needed to hear. The Sharks drive to open the 3rd quarter would result in another turn over on downs and McCullum would find Jolly again for an 11 yard touchdown and Peterson's PAT split the uprights. Cedric Poole kept the Sharks from scoring whenever he broke up a pass in the endzone on 4th down to give the Cobras offense the ball back. Barnett would make a leaping catch while double covered for a 30 yard bomb and Peterson would show how he earned the nickname "the leg" by making the PAT and the deuce on the kickoff. The Sharks made a change at quarterback during the 3rd quarter, opting to let Patrick McCain handle the snaps. This would be futile, with Green getting his second pick of the game in the endzone to stop another Sharks drive. Carolina was up at the end of the 3rd 44-23.
The 4th quarter would be the Charles McCullum quarter, connecting to Gurrea on an 11 yard touchdown and another Michael Gren int would set him up to find Barnett for a 21 yard catch and run touchdown. Jacksonville would have yet another turn over on downs and this time Jolly would take advantage of the field position on a 13 run after catch. McCain and the Sharks didn't roll over and play dead, connecting with Cody Saul on a 30 yard touchdown and then going for and getting the two-point conversion. They would try another onside kick and this time Green was ready, grabbing it off the field and taking back for a special teams touchdown. Peterson would go three out of four on PATs in the 4th quarter the last one being blocked and Ross returning for two points. That would be a wash, with Peterson ending the game with a deuce.
The Cobras are riding a lot of momentum going into their second bye week before the Columbus Lions come to town on June 23, which could be the NAL championship game this season. The Sharks will have to wait till next week to see if they can find that 100 franchise victory.