|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (March 17, 2012) – Behind eight total touchdowns from QB Randy Hippeard, the Columbus Lions (1-1) of the Professional Indoor Football League took down the Knoxville Nighthawks 64-59.
With a large number of visitors in the Columbus area for the yearly ‘Thunder in the Valley Air Show’, the Lions, Nighthawks put on an air show duel with quarterbacks Randy Hippeard and Tony Colston combining to toss 12 touchdowns and 496 yards in Saturdays contest.
Despite falling behind early, the Lions rallied to take a 10-6 lead opening up with a Hippeard touchdown pass to Gerald Gales along with a couple of huge special teams plays which included a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Justen Rivers on an extra point attempt along with a Ryan Gates Uno.
Knoxville would manage to take back the lead on the first of four touchdown grabs by receiver Ryan McDaniel giving the Hawks a 12-10. That would be the last the Hawks would see of the lead as Columbus closed out the first half with two interceptions by defensive back David Smith giving them the halftime lead of 29-26
Opening up the 2nd half, needing just two plays Maurice Dupree would haul in his third of four touchdown grabs and soon after back-to-back Hippeard rushing touchdowns Columbus grabbed a sizeable 50-32 lead. From there, Nighthawks QB Tony Colston would begin his comeback bid getting his squad within five at 50-45 after a QB keeper and hook-up for a touchdown to McDaniel. Colston finished the game completing 20 of 28 passes for 305 yards to go with eight total touchdowns.
Electing to play small ball, the Hawks attempted six on-side kicks in the 2nd half but came up empty on every attempt giving the Columbus offense the short field. With 1,000 pounds on the offensive line the Lions took advantage scoring four total rushing touchdowns including one by Anthony Merritt in the final minute extending their lead to 64-52.
Knoxville would close back to within five on a 49-yard hook-up from Colston to Justin Craig, but would ultimately fall short in their comeback bid with Columbus holding on to a 64-59 final.
“Our offensive-line played well tonight and our defense came with the pressure getting three turnovers,” says Columbus Lions Head Coach. “We still have some areas to work on; we did give up the ball two times and really allowed their QB a large number of big pass plays.”
Next week, Columbus will head back out on the road as they travel to take on the Alabama Hammers (0-1) who lost on Saturday night 56-49 to the Louisiana Swashbucklers (1-0). Knoxville will head back out on the road and take on the Richmond Raiders (1-1) who fell to the Albany Panthers (1-0) 40-28 on Saturday.
For interviews from defensive back David Smith, quarterback Randy Hippeard, and Head Coach Jason Gibson, be sure to log on to www.columbuslions.net.
The Columbus Lions announced they will become a member of the Arena Developmental League on Tuesday afternoon. The Lions join the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, who announced their intentions to join the ADL on Tuesday morning, as the first two franchises to commit to the ADL. “As a staff and an ownership group, at all times, it’s about the product we put on the field for our fans,” said Lions head coach and general manager Jason Gibson. “Our No. 1 priority was moving up and bringing in a higher caliber of entertainment, teams, coaches, and personnel from top to bottom. It’s a great opportunity for us, and we felt we owed it to our fans. “Our players need a platform to show what they can do. This league will harness their talent and get guys where they need to be. Some of the best satisfaction for a coach is to see players down the road have success. I’m excited.” Both the Lions and Steelhawks have been established indoor football ...