|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (May 16, 2012) – Having first met two months ago on the opening weekend of the season, the Columbus Lions (5-3) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) travel to the Commonwealth state to face off against the league’s top defense in the Richmond Raiders (6-2) where the winner could gain a firm position in second place.
Back on March 10th, the Raiders overcame an eight point deficit by scoring 21 unanswered points late in the 3rd and early 4th quarter en route to a 64-58 victory over the Lions. In fact, Richmond is one of only two teams in the PIFL with a perfect home record (4-0).
“We made simple mistakes down the stretch with penalties on both sides of the ball,” says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson. “That game foreshadowed how a lot of the games in the PIFL are going to be close.”
Columbus and Richmond both sport the league’s longest winning streaks with both needing some last-second theatricality for victories. Two weeks ago, with eight seconds remaining QB Antwon Young tossed a 14-yard TD pass to Herb Jones lifting the Raiders to a 50-43 victory over Louisiana and last Friday Richmond had to hold off a 28-point 4th quarter Hammer scoring frenzy to hold on for the 65-59 victory.
For a second time in less than a week the Lions relied on a last second field goal with newly signed kicker Chandler Brooks and his 40-yard field goal standing as the game-winner in this past Saturday’s 58-55 victory over Knoxville.
With second place on the line this Saturday, the Raiders and Lions have gone about getting here by taking two different routes. Headed with a secondary group steered by Maurice Thorne, who leads PIFL in passes defended (20) along with a defensive front anchored by Michael Woodhouse and his team-high five sacks, Richmond leads the PIFL in total defense (227 yards allowed/game) while also holding opponents to a league-low 33.9% on 3rd down conversions.
Even with stout defense, from under center QB Antwon Young leads a Richmond offense that doesn’t commit many turnovers, just three INT’s thrown by Young 255 passing attempts, along with having the number one rushing offense (43 yards/game).
Columbus continues to be headed by its high-powered passing attack. QB Randy Hippeard leads the PIFL in completion percentage (64.4), passing yards (2,159), and total offense (282 yards/game). Meanwhile, receivers Maurice Dupree (66), London Crawford (64), and Gerald Gales (53) are 1-2-4 respectively in the PIFL in receptions.
For the Lions defense, the struggles on defense continued last weeks as the lowly ranked Knoxville offense passed for a season-high 318 yards. Despite forcing the highest turnover total (21)), Columbus opponents are converting 42.6% on 3rd down chances and the defense ranks at the bottom in total defense (272 yards allowed/game).
With coverage beginning at 6:55 PM ET, fans can tune into Saturday’s game against Richmond by logging on to www.columbuslions.net and clicking on the Listen Live icon and for all scoring updates visit the Lions Facebook page.