|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (May 30, 2012) – With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Columbus Lions (5-4) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) made a couple of signings in hopes of turning around a struggling defense.
Having already given up 66 touchdowns through their first nine games, one shy of the league-high, it’s been a struggle all season for the Lions on defense. Ranking last in total defense (280 yards/game), they added a couple of defensive pieces in hopes of patching up a potential leaking ship.
One potential key to hopefully turning this ship around is the re-addition of LB Justen Rivers (6’1 255, Eastern Kentucky). Rivers made appearances in the Lions first four games wrapping up 12 tackles and one sack before getting his release due to a locker room dispute. Fences were mended and Rivers leadership will be counted on in turning the ship around. Last season, Justen finished with a team-high 12 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss earning him a 1st Team honors on defense.
Columbus also added pair of former SEC defensive backs in Ramon Broadway (5’9 190, Arkansas) and Alan Strong (5’9 180, Vanderbilt). After a successful four-year stint at Arkansas, Broadway signed as an undrafted free-agent with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers playing in all four pre-season games. Strong, native of Atlanta, played two seasons at Vandy seeing action in nine games as a red-shirt freshman before transferring to nearby Fort Valley State University.
Columbus also added QB Marcus Jones (6’4 225, Duke) to back-up starting quarterback Randy Hippeard. Ever since QB Derek Cassidy left for the AFL’s Pittsburgh Power on April 3rd, the Lions have not carried a back-up QB in any of their games. Jones, who back in 2006 started the season-opener for the Blue Devils also saw action at wide receiver and linebacker during his time at Duke.
The reeling Lions will end their current three-game road trip this Saturday at 8:00 PM ET when they travel to the Smugglers Den in Lake Charles, LA to take on the Louisiana Swashbucklers (4-5). A win over the Bucs will ensure the Lions finish no worse than the 3rd seed in the impending PIFL playoffs while a loss will bring them to a tie with Louisiana.
After their meeting with the Swashbucklers, the Lions will close out the season with a two-game home stand beginning with a meeting with their bitter in-state rivals the Albany Panthers on June 9th while the following Saturday (June 16th) Columbus will host the Knoxville Nighthawks in the season finale.
You can catch all of Saturday’s action against Louisiana by logging on to www.columbuslions.net and clicking on the Listen Live icon, coverage will begin at 7:55 PM ET.