In sports, some teams play others better than usual. In the interest of Jersey, they match up well against the Carolina Cobras.
Opening the season at the CURE Insurance Arena, the Cobras were victorious. A walk-off field goal secured a victory against the Flight in week one. During the NAL kickoff weekend, Jersey played closely. Defensively, they gave Sam Castronova headaches.
Needing a win, the Flight made a statement. They knew that they couldn’t let a potential victory slip away. If a homestand wasn’t a setting that fit the story, then Jersey had to become road warriors. Last week, Terrence Foster did not meet with the press following the loss to the Lions. Instead of talking about it, it was time to be about it.
Did the Flight take redemption in Carolina?
First Quarter Focused
It was all Jersey Flight in the first quarter. They blanked the Carolina Cobras, 14-0 before the second quarter began.
Warren Smith looked drastically improved, putting his performances against the Albany Empire and Columbus Lions behind him. Next week, the Flight is back home at the CURE Insurance Arena. Riding this momentum, Jersey can put together back-to-back victories if they duplicate their security of the football. Smith handled snaps and made smart plays, running down the clock through possessions. There was a focus on clock management and execution, both on offense and defense.
“We went in with a game plan that we felt comfortable with, and the guys put great effort into a dominant performance in all three phases of the game.”Terrence Foster; 6/19/21
Emory Sammons put the Flight on the scoreboard with a 1yrd rushing touchdown. Sam Castronova had to answer as the field general to his offense. He faced a fast defensive line earlier this season that gave him a run for his money. This time, the Jersey defensive secondary picked up the pace to compliment, resulting in an interception return for a score by Neiko Creamer.
Strap in; Creamer had himself an evening.
Laughinghouse Homecoming Touchdown
The Carolina Cobras get onto the scoreboard in the second quarter following a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Warren Smith and Tyron Laughinghouse answer for separate touchdowns increase the lead, 27-7.
Larry Beavers played a dynamic role in pushing the offense downfield most of the game but had the ball stripped from him once. Justin Chandler returned the fumble 33yrds for a touchdown. It was the only hiccup the Jersey Flight endured in the first half.
A hot start doesn’t mean anything if it’s extinguished the next quarter. Smith created space on the scoreboard, connecting with Laughinghouse on a 17yrd touchdown. In the final minute of the first half, Smith kept on the gas. He snuck over the goal line for a touchdown.
Leading by three possessions is the way the Flight wanted to respond.
Dangerfield Keeps Carolina Distant
Sam Castronova and Kendrick Ings went wild the first time they faced the Jersey Flight. Both at a touchdown in the third quarter, but Jared Dangerfield softened the blow.
The Carolina Cobras received the second-half kickoff with an opportunity to cut into the lead. Ings caught a squirrely pass from Castronova for a touchdown. It had some adequate velocity on a perfect trajectory, but the ball traveled end-over-end. It doesn’t matter how pretty it looks; a touchdown is a touchdown.
As he had all season, Dangerfield remained a pivotal part of the Flight on offense. Neither defense could stop one another in the third quarter. Dangerfield scored on a 3yrd touchdown reception, then Castronova returned the favor for a 2yrd touchdown run.
“[My] mentality on the game was to win the battle every play, leave it all the field, and every time my number was called, I was grateful and had to make the most of it.”Jared Dangerfield; 6/19/21
Jersey led at the end of the third quarter, 34-20.
Neiko Adds Two Defensive TDs
Reducing turnovers put the Jersey Flight in the win column. Neiko Creamer and Jared Dangerfield finished with three touchdowns each.
Dangerfield doubled with a touchdown reception, then run. Creamer logged another interception return, followed by a fumble return. Following the game, Creamer credited his defense, especially the defensive line, for putting constant pressure on Sam Castronova:
“I wouldn’t have made any plays without the pressure the front guys put on the QB.”Neiko Creamer; 6/19/21
In history, the Flight took off on Juneteenth, 2021, winning 65-27.
Photo credit: Jersey Flight