04/21/2018 10:17 PM
GREENSBORO- The Cobras win their first ever home game in dramatic fashion, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The game was relatively calm the first half, with both teams exchanging scores to be tied 21-21 at the half. Things got interesting in the third quarter, however, with both teams kickers making and missing extra points and deuces. Nothing was guaranteed. Late in the fourth quarter the Cobras pulled back from a 41-34 deficit and took the lead for good after a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab by Fabian Guerra. The game was sealed after Toni Pulu of Carolina’s defense recovered a fumble in the final minute of gameplay.
The first quarter started off good for the Cobras. Carolina won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball in the first half. Their first play from scrimmage, a 17 yard completion to Guerra, gave the Cobras good momentum to start the game. Carolina quickly cashed in with a touchdown to Tyron Laughinghouse behind a dart from Quarterback Charles McCullum. Massachusetts responded soon after this, with Massachusetts Quarterback Robert Kent Jr. throwing a short pass to London Crawford for a touchdown. Kicker Ali Mourtada hit a deuce on the ensuing kick-off to give Massachusetts the lead. Later on Carolina’s ensuing drive it becomes 4th down. Massachusetts is flagged for illegal defense and keeps the drive alive for Carolina. Carolina capitalizes on a big 32 yard touchdown pass to an open Guerra. Cobras go into the second quarter with a 14-9 lead.
Quarter two didn’t start the way the Cobras wanted. After Carolina’s defense stopped Massachusetts on 4th and goal from the 9 yard line things went downhill fast. Carolina’s McCullum was sacked, and threw an incomplete pass to a wide open Jordan Jolly. On 4th down Carolina was forced to attempt a field goal from their own end zone. Kicker Craig Peterson’s attempt was short and returned for a touchdown by Massachusetts’ Demetruce McNeal. Massachusetts’ Mourtada hits his second deuce of the night following their touchdown. Carolina fails to score on the ensuing drive, giving Massachusetts the ball back deep in their own territory. Massachusetts immediately gives the ball back after Carolina’s Keith Lewis makes the jumping interception. McCullum throws the ball right back to Massachusetts, but the play quickly becomes a scramble for the ball in the endzone after Massachusetts’ defender fumbles the ball. The play is originally ruled a safety, but is overturned after review and ruled Massachusetts’ ball due to defender giving himself up before fumbling. The Carolina defense stops Massachusetts and holds them to a field goal. Massachusetts tries to pull some trickery on Carolina, attempting an onside kick. This failed attempt helped put Laughinghouse in position to receive a touchdown with 17.3 seconds left in the half and tie the game. With the game tied at 21 going into the half, Massachusetts was set to receive the second half kick-off.
Massachusetts started off the third quarter with a bang, throwing a 35 yard touchdown to Lavon Pearson. However, Massachusetts’ Mourtada missed the following PAT. The Cobras struck back quickly with a touchdown pass to Tyrell Goodman. On the Pirates next drive they once again threw a 35 yard touchdown bomb, this time to Devonn Brown. Mourtada missed the PAT but made up for his previous misses by hitting his third deuce of the night on the following kick. The Cobras and Pirates exchanged touchdowns and missed PAT’s to finish the quarter. Pirates lead 41-34 going into the fourth and final quarter.
Carolina almost immediately scored in the fourth quarter after a 16 yard gain by Laughinghouse and a touchdown by Goodman, pushing his way through the Pirate defenders. Massachusetts’ next drive resulted in a 2 yard rushing touchdown by Darryl Render, after a critical 4th and 8 conversion earlier in the drive (missed PAT). With good starting field position Carolina’s Guerra makes it look easy with a touchdown on the first play of the drive. Massachusetts gets back deep into Cobras territory but can’t convert a 4th down touchdown pass attempt. Thanks to the turnover on downs, Guerra hauls in an amazing one-handed touchdown grab that gives Carolina control of the ball game. After a missed PAT by Peterson a scuffle ensues between the Pirate head coach and the referees. Pirates Head Coach Ameer Ismail is ejected after his second offense of the game. Peterson finally comes through with his first deuce of the night after coming close so many times before. The game is tight with only a few minutes left, Massachusetts on Carolina’s 8 yard line and down by 8 points. Kent attempts a backwards pass but its muffed and recovered by Toni Pulu with 51.5 seconds left on the clock. After a few offensive plays by the Cobras the clock runs out and the Cobras wind up victorious, with a final score of 55-47.