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Cobras Fall Short Against Rattlers

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PHOENIX, ARIZ. — The Carolina Cobras simply ran out of time as the Arizona Rattlers held on for a hard-fought 44-42 victory in front of 16,613 Saturday night at America West Arena.

Cornelius White hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Fred McNair with 38 seconds left to pull the Cobras (2-10) to within two points, but the Rattlers (10-2) were able to recover the ensuing on-side kick and run out the clock to preserve the win.

McNair was impressive behind center, completing 18 of 31 passes for 282 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. Offensive specialist Dexter Dawson (8 catches for 109 yards and two scores) and wide receiver-linebacker Cornelius White (4 grabs for 83 yards and three touchdowns) both had big games for Carolina.

Rattlers signal caller Sherdrick Bonner completed 20 of 36 passes for 207 yards and three scores with an interception. He also ran for a 3-yard touchdown. Fullback/linebacker Bob McMillen had a huge game on both sides of the ball. He ran five times for 25 yards and a score and also made a tackle, a sack, and recovered two fumbles (one for a score).

Arizona took the opening kickoff and drove 35-yards on seven plays and took an early 7-0 lead on a three-yard run by Bonner. McNair was unable to handle the snap from center on the Cobras? first possession and McMillen recovered for the Rattlers at the Cobras 12-yard line. Arizona took advantage of the great field position and cashed in with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Bonner to Randy Gatewood to take a 14-0 lead with 5:09 left in the first. Carolina got on the board on their next possession when McNair found Dawson for a 3-yard score to close the lead to 14-7 late in the first but Bjorn Nittmo drilled a 53-yard field goal to give Arizona a 10-point advantage with 14:05 left in the second. The Rattlers extended their lead to 23-7 on the ensuing kick off when Dawson was unable to play the ball cleanly off the rebound net and McMillen jumped on it in the end zone for an Arizona touchdown. The Cobras were able to bounce back on their next possession when McNair connected with Cornelius White for a 6-yard score to close to 23-14. Defensive specialist Adrian Lunsford picked off Bonner in the end zone on the Rattlers next possession and McNair found David McLeod for a 34-yard scoring strike to pull Carolina to 23-21 with 1:35 left in the half. Carolina got a break when Brad Keeney recovered a fumble on Arizona?s next possession but Remy Hamilton?s 27-yard field goal attempt missed wide right just before the half. McNair wasted no time in the second half, connecting with White for a 45-yard touchdown strike on the Cobras first play to give Carolina their first lead of the game at 28-23. The Carolina lead was short lived as Arizona drove 38 yards on 11 plays and scored on a 7-yard touchdown run by McMillen to put the Rattlers back on top, 30-28, with 6:11 left in the third. Carolina stalled on their next drive as Hamilton?s 43-yard field goal attempt missed wide right to give Arizona possession. The Rattlers extended their lead to 37-28 when Bonner found Hunkie Cooper for a 20-yard touchdown early in the fourth. Carolina would not go away as McNair fired an 11-yard touchdown to Dawson to pull the Cobras to 37-35 midway through the final period. Bonner brought the Rattlers right back, finding Gatewood for an 11-yard score to extend the Arizona lead to 44-35 with 5:13 left but the Cobras simply ran out of time after White?s touchdown grab late in the fourth. The Cobras return home to the Entertainment and Sports Arena for a two-game home stand to close out the 2000 season. Carolina hosts the New Jersey Red Dogs on Friday, July 14, 7:30 p.m. before closing out the season on Friday, July 21, 7:30 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Storm.