By RJ Ciancio
The 0-13 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks played host the Carolina Cobras in the Steelhawks’ final home game of the season. Lehigh Valley is still seeking their first win of the season while the Cobras were trying to further their chances of hosting a National Arena League (NAL) playoff game.
Carolina’s first drive looked weak at first as Charles McCullum couldn’t get the team past the first down marker. On fourth down McCullum was intercepted by Marquez Gollum. However, the play would be nullified due to an illegal defense penalty gave the the Cobras a new set of down. Marquez Gollum then spread the ball like around as he found Phillip Barnett and then Jordan Jolly for a touchdown reception. With Craig Peterson’s extra point, the Cobras lead 7-0.
Peterson’s kickoff split the uprights for a deuce, making it 9-0 Carolina. Caleb Walton began leading the Steelhawks down the field as Walton until a third and three play where he muffed the snap. Luckily for the Steelhawks Darrell Bogan was able to fall on the football. Spencer Hotaling nailed a 45-yard field goal making it 9-3 Carolina.
The Cobras then struck quickly as two plays into the drive, McCullum found Jolly for one-handed touchdown grab. With the extra point the score read 16-3.
Peterson’s kickoff went out of the endzone giving the Steelhawks the ball at their own 20. Caleb Walton once again struggled to move the ball. Part way through the drive Caleb Walton was hurt. On fourth down Spencer Hotaling converted a 41-yard kick making it 16-3 Cobras.
Hotaling’s ensuing kickoff was short, giving the Steelhawks the ball at their own 20. On first down McCullum found Jordan Jolly on a short pass that was knocked out by Dante Holmes and Lehigh Valley recovered.
Patrick Ryan took over for an injured Caleb Walton. Ryan rallied the team as he lead them to a touchdown. The extra point was blocked making it 16-12 Cobras. After the drive ended Caleb walton was able to return to the bench area.
Spencer Hotaling’s kickoff missed the deuce attempt and the drive started at the Cobras 20. McCullum continued to prosper. On 2nd and 10 McCullum found Fabian Guerra for an easy touchdown. With the extra point the score read 23-12 Carolina.
Craig Peterson continued to rack up points for the Cobras as he kicked another deuce making it 25-12 Cobras. Caleb walton returned to the field. The offense struggled as his pass was dropped by two different receivers and overthrew another one. On fourth down lineman Peter Borum was injured on the play.
After the turnover on downs, McCullum handed the ball off to Jugg Russell on first and goal for an 8 yard touchdown run. With the successful extra point the score read 32-12 with Carolina in the lead.
Peterson’s kickoff missed the uprights giving the Steelhawks the ball at their own twenty. On the second play of the drive Walton was intercepted and the pass was returned for the pick-six. The extra point was blocked by Donte Holmes, making the score 38-12 Cobras.
Peterson’s kickoff was just short of a deuce, giving the Steelhawks the ball at their own twenty. The drive was going well for the Steelhawks until Caleb Walton was once again intercepted. Darrell Bogan was hurt on the play.
The ensuing Cobras drive would start of their own twenty. On first and ten, McCullum’s pass was nearly intercepted. McCullum wasn’t able to escape his dangerous pases getiing close to the defenders as her was eventually intercepted by Saveon brown in the endzone. Walton was able to find Charles McClain for a 37-yard bomb for a touchdown. The extra point was good making it 39-19 Carolina.
Hotaling’s kickoff went for a deuce making it 38-21 Cobras. On first and 10 from their own 5 Jolly caught a short pass and then the Cobras let the clock run out to end the first half.
Craig Peterson’s kickoff to start the second half hit the scoreboard giving Lehigh valley the ball at their own twenty yard-line. Caleb Walton was able to bring the Steelhakws down the field and was able to lead the team to the endzone where he scored on a running play. With the extra point splitting the uprights making it 38-28 Cobras.
It was from that point on the Steelhawks defense was pummeled as Carolina scored 41 unanswered points. By the end of the game, both teams were tired and playing overall, sloppy football.
The Cobras were able to rout the Steelhawks en route to the NAL Playoffs. With only one week left in the regular season Billy Back will have to make the hard choice of how to approach the final week of the regular season as the Cobras currently are currently the NAL’s number three seed as they fight to be the host of a NAL playoff game.
Lehigh Valley is now trying to avoid becoming the team with the worst record in NAL history (that current title is held by the 2017 Corpus Christi Rage who went 0-9). All that's left to to do is end the season and get a fresh start for the 2019 Season.