Not this time
Carrying an eight-game win streak and a healthy squad into Saturday’s battle against the rival Carolina Energy in the semifinals of Bowman Cup Playoffs, Head Coach Anson Yarborough and his Carolina Havoc felt their chances of defending their American Arena League title looked really good.
Any idea of a repeat was quickly dispelled, however, as the Energy raced to an early lead and never looked back in a 58-38 victory over the visiting Havoc at Bojangles Arena in Charlotte.
The Havoc, playing in their first season in Florence, finish the year at 8-2 overall. Both losses came against Energy. The Havoc opened the season with a 52-29 loss to the Energy.
The unbeaten Energy, now 8-0, will face another unbeaten, the West Virginia Roughriders, in the Bowman Cup title game on June 29 in Charlotte. The Roughriders defeated the Western Michigan Ironmen 52-13 in the other semifinal on Sunday.
Against the Energy on Saturday, the Havoc found themselves behind early and trailed 47-14 at halftime. Facing an uphill battle, the Havoc attempted to work themselves back in the game in the third quarter but still trailed 52-26 going into the final 15 minutes of play.
After the game, a disappointed Yarborough said things just did not go his team’s way.
The Havoc earned the rematch with the Energy by dismissing Cape Fear 60-22 in the first round of the playoffs on June 11.
After falling behind 7-0, the Havoc took control of the game. Forcing several turnovers, the Florence team built a commanding 40-16 lead at halftime.
The Heroes were unable to get anything going after halftime and the Havoc held on for their second victory of the season over visiting Cape Fear.