|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (March 11, 2012) – Even with a strong offensive performance, the Columbus Lions (0-1) of the Professional Indoor Football League fell in their 2012 season opener 64-58 to the Richmond Raiders (1-0).
In front of an opening crowd of 3,243 at the Richmond Coliseum, the Lions and Raiders put on a show combining to score 122 points along with 456 total yards of offense.
After quickly falling behind 8-0, the Columbus offense started hitting on all cylinders beginning with quarterback Randy Hippeard connecting with London Crawford on a 15-yard scoring hook-up, the first of seven passing touchdowns on the night for Hippeard.
On the ensuing drive, Randy linked up for the first of four touchdown receptions with receiver Maurice Dupree giving the Lions a 13-8 lead. Richmond answered back on their next drive and even managed to have a lead as large as ten. But that would be before Columbus scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes, the first on a Gerald Gales 45-yard touchdown reception and the last on a Hippeard 10-yard rushing touchdown giving them a 32-29 into the half.
The Lions offense continued their surge in the 3rd quarter holding a lead as large as eight. But behind a roaring Richmond crowd, the Raiders defensive began supplying pressure causing a number of false start penalties including three on one drive alone.
Three consecutive touchdowns in between the 3rd and 4th quarter gave Richmond a sizeable 13 point lead as Columbus was only able to close out the game within six after a last minute touchdown grab by Gerald Gales.
While both clubs struggled on third down, Columbus was unable to convert any of their 3rd down conversions in the 2nd half going 0-5 as well as obtaining a game-high 11 penalties for 67 yards.
In his starting debut, quarterback Randy Hippeard completed 25 of 42 passes for 298 yards and seven touchdowns. His counterpart, Antwon Young completed 16 of 28 passes for 172 yards and five touchdowns as well as a rushing touchdown.
Lions Receiver Gerald Gales hauled in ten receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns along with Maurice Dupree grabbing eight receptions for 94 yards and four touchdowns.
Richmond will look to carry this momentum into next Saturday when they travel to take on the champion Albany Panthers while Columbus will look to erase their opening loss next weekend when they play host to the expansion Knoxville Nighthawks on Saturday March 17th at 7:30 PM.
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