It’s early in the season, but Saturday night’s showdown between the Streets and the defending National Arena League champion Carolina Cobras in Greensboro (7pm YouTube) is certainly worthy of being flexed to Sunday night. It would also certainly be appropriate for the game to be preceded by a Carrie Underwood song getting the audience ready for what should be a terrific football contest.
Both teams come in with a record of 2-0 and they’re the only unbeaten clubs remaining in the NAL heading into week four of the season. After wins over Jacksonville and Orlando, the Streets are coming off of their bye week are now ready for a big early season test against a Cobras team that has started the season with back to back routs of the Massachusetts Pirates.
The Cobras present a big challenge for the Streets.
“They’re a really good athletic football team,” said Streets Head Coach Rick Marsilio. “They’re very well coached. They have a great atmosphere and a great crowd. They’re going to bring it. They’re the defending champions and they know how to win. They’re just good all around. They’re a good football team.”
After guiding his team to the NAL title as an expansion team last season, Cobras Head Coach Billy Back has assembled another strong team this year led by quarterback Charles McCullum who has thrown for 478 yards and 12 touchdowns. His primary receiver is Jordan Jolley who has 16 catches for 225 yards and eight touchdowns.
Streets defensive back Denzel Thompson will look to continue his stellar play so far this season. He leads the Streets with 14 tackles to go along with two interceptions and four pass breakups. Overall, the Streets defense will certainly have to be on their toes against an offense that can light up the scoreboard.
“We’ve been watching them,” said Streets defensive lineman Herbert Moore. “We know they’re going to be fundamentally sound and they’re good at what they do. I feel like we have a good chance because we have chemistry going as a team.”
This game will be a battle of the number one offense in the NAL and the number one defense. The Streets lead the league with 122 points scored while the Cobras have the stingiest defense giving up just 44 points through two games so this could turn out to be a fascinating chess match. Carolina has forced eight turnovers so far this season but they certainly haven’t faced an offense like they will see from the Streets.
Veteran quarterback E.J. Nemeth has been outstanding so far this season throwing for 399 yards and 11 touchdowns including six to wide receiver Rob Jones who has 15 catches for 255 yards. Nemeth has also been busy finding Devonte Jenkins who has nine catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cobras defense is led by defensive back Mike Green who has 14.5 tackles, three interceptions and nine passes defensed so the Streets face a tough task in keeping their high-octane offense rolling.
“I expect them to come out and play with the championship pedigree that they possess,” said Nemeth. “We’re excited to head down to Greensboro and battle with them on Saturday Night.”
Through three weeks of the National Arena League season, the popular Arena Football website “Inside The Arena” has Carolina and the Streets ranked one and two respectfully in their weekly NAL power rankings. Given that the Cobras are defending champions and both teams are 2-0, it’s understandable why the rankings look that way.
But the Streets have their sights set on going down to Greensboro and continuing to shake up the Arena Football world and sending a message that they are legitimate contenders for this year’s NAL title. Shaking up those power rankings would be pretty cool as well!