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Carolina Cobras Announce Inaugural Schedule

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RALEIGH — The Carolina Cobras, the new Raleigh-based Arena Football League team, have released the club's inaugural 2000 season schedule.

The expansion Cobras will play their inaugural game in the new Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena on Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m., in a preseason contest with the New England Sea Wolves. Carolina opens the regular season on Friday, April 14, 7:30 p.m. against the Florida Bobcats at the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena.

Carolina, led by head coach Doug Kay, will have their work cut out for them in their inaugural campaign. The Cobras' 14-game regular season schedule features seven playoff teams, including the Tampa Bay Storm, Arizona Rattlers, Nashville Kats and the ArenaBowl XIII runner-up Orlando Predators.

The Cobras open the 2000 season in early April on the road with a preseason game with the 1999 ArenaBowl Champion Albany Firebirds. The exhibition game will be played in either Chicago or Kansas City.

Carolina returns home for a preseason contest with New England on April 6 at 7:30 p.m., before hosting the Florida Bobcats on Friday, April 14, 7:30 p.m. in the club's inaugural regular season game.

In Week 2, Carolina will venture cross-country to challenge the expansion Los Angeles Avengers in the Avengers' inaugural game in the new STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The 1999 ArenaBowl runner-up Orlando Predators come to town on Thursday, April 27, in a game which will be televised nationally on TNN as the Arena Football League's Game-of-the-Week.

Carolina will hit the road in Week 4 and 5 as they travel to South Florida for consecutive road games with the Tampa Bay Storm (11-3 in 1999) and Florida Bobcats (3-11 last season), before returning home for back-to-back home match-ups with the yet to be named expansion Detroit franchise and the Nashville Kats (8-6 in 1999).

The Week 7 contest versus Nashville begins a tough three-game swing for the Cobras as they battle Southern Division rivals Nashville, Orlando (7-7 in regular season) and Tampa Bay in consecutive weeks.

Week 10 and 11 sends the Cobras on back-to-back road trips to New England (5-9 last season) and Nashville, before returning home to the Raleigh Sports and Entertainment Arena to take on the Houston Thunderbears (4-10 in 1999) on Friday, June 30.

Carolina's Week 13 match-up in Phoenix, AZ with the two-time ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers will have special meaning for Coach Kay, as he returns to the field where he served as the Rattlers' defensive coordinator from 1996-99.

The Cobras return home to the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena in Week 14 for the regular season finale against the New Jersey Red Dogs (6-8 last season).

The Arena Football League has adopted a 12-team playoff format for the 2000 campaign. In the previous eight seasons, the top eight teams made it to post season play. All 11 playoff games will be broadcast live on TNN, ESPN and ESPN, and ABC Sports.

The top four seeds in the playoffs will each receive a bye in the first round, July 20-23, with quarterfinal action to commence July 27-29. A pair of semifinal contests will take place August 6, and, for the first time, an open week will precede the league's championship game, ArenaBowl XIV.

The ArenaBowl will be played on ABC Sports on Sunday, August 20. Last season, more than two million television fans witnessed the Albany Firebirds defeat the defending champion Orlando Predators, 59-48, in ArenaBowl XIII on ABC. From staff and wire Reports-->