The Jacksonville Sharks (10-6) are being hosted by the Carolina Cobras (10-5) in what will be a Black-Out Night in The Snake Pit. This game is the National Arena League (NAL) Semi-Finals game, and the winner will advance to the National Arena Bowl. The Sharks and Cobras have faced each other three times, two of which going to the Cobras.
Carolina Cobras Host Jacksonville Sharks for National Arena League Playoffs
This game will be a Black-Out, which means all Cobras fans should wear all black to the game and support the Cobras. All Sharks fans attending the game should wear all red and support the away team.
The first game between the Sharks and Cobras was in Week One when both teams were still learning their own teammates. The Sharks came up with a 41-38 victory. The second game was a few weeks after and went to the Cobras with an impressing 55-21 win. The third game was completely different from the first and second game. Many changes were made for both teams. The Cobras still got the win, but it was an embarrassing 33-73 loss for the Sharks.
This is also the first time that the Sharks are the underdogs in NAL Playoff history. Last year, the Sharks did not leave first place after the third week when they were the only remaining undefeated team. Their one loss last year still was good enough to keep them at the number one seed and help them host the championship game.
This year, however, is much different. The Sharks did not see number one until Week 17 of the regular season. The Sharks are now number three, which takes a home playoff game away from them in the first round.
Difference of Quarterbacks
Quarterback Patrick McCain has had some rough games in the past, but he comes in clutch against the higher seed teams, such as the Columbus Lions (when they were number one) and Massachusetts Pirates, who are currently number one. So far this season, he is 106-of-208 (50.96%) for 1,312 yards, 29 touchdown passes, and nine interceptions.
The Cobras Quarterback, Charles McCullum, could be the league MVP, with impressive numbers. He is 296-of-493 (60.04%) for 3,320 yards, 87 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. If McCullum doesn’t earn NAL MVP, it could possibly be because of the amount of interceptions, since both Mason Espinosa (Columbus Lions) and Sean Brackett (Massachusetts Pirates) both have less interceptions this season.
On the ground, the Sharks dominate the league. Fullback Derrick Ross leads the league in rushing yards (311) and rushing touchdowns (19).
The Cobras, on the other hand, are in last place in the league with rushing yards. They don’t necessarily have a full-time fullback. The Cobras use an offensive lineman or defensive lineman for the fullback job, since the main job is to block on passing plays. Carolina as a team has rushed for 250 yards among 10 different players this season. The Cobras offense also has 16 rushing touchdowns.
Overall, the Cobras have the better quarterback and receivers, but the Sharks have the better rushing game. McCain may also be the Sharks only quarterback, but they are not afraid to have him run the ball down the field instead of throwing it away.
This game will be played on Tuesday, August 11 at 7:00 pm (E.T.) at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. The game will be streamed live on the NAL YouTube channel.
The winner of this game will host the Columbus Lions in National Arena Bowl II. If the Cobras win, the championship game will be held at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on Monday, August 27 at 7:00 pm (E.T.). If the Sharks win, the championship game will be held at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL on Sunday, August 26 at 5:00 pm (E.T.).