|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (May 30, 2012) – On Saturday, the Columbus Lions (5-4) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) will enter the final stretch of the 2012 regular season when they face-off against the Louisiana Swashbucklers (4-5) at 8:00 PM ET in their final road game of the season.
Officially in the final quarter of the season, clubs in the PIFL are jockeying for playoff position but no game may be more important than Saturday’s meeting between the Lions and Bucs. A victory in Saturday’s game will ensure they start no poorer than the third seed in the impending playoffs while a Bucs win will all but clinch a playoff spot and force a tie with the Lions for that third spot.
With only one of the six clubs in the PIFL eliminated, seed positioning remains unsettled and with three weeks remaining in the regular season much can change.
Louisiana will come into Saturday’s meeting having just escaped with a two-point victory two weeks ago over the Knoxville Nighthawks. With a stagnant passing attack that averages a league-low 204 yards through the air, the Bucs have had to rely on their bruising fullback Kendrick Perry to carry their offensive load. Perry earned the Week 10 Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 98 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries.
With Perry carrying majority of the load, the Bucs lead the PIFL in rushing offense (50 yards/game) and will more than likely keep that in mind when they face the Lions defense on Saturday. Along with a couple of other defensive categories, Columbus ranks last in rushing defense (41 yards allowed/game) which has continued to be a sore spot for a club with a promising offense.
Falling 74-64 two weeks ago to the Richmond Raiders, the Lions defense gave up 342 yards of total offense falling down as much as 28 points. In hopes of correcting some of their issues on defense, Columbus made a number of changes of which includes the re-addition of LB Justen Rivers (6’1 255, Eastern Kentucky) as well as the signings of DB’s Alan Strong (5’9 180, Vanderbilt) and Ramon Broadway (5’9 180, Arkansas).
Columbus will try and jump out to an early lead like they did in their previous meeting with the Bucs back in Week 5. In that meeting, the Lions flew out to 27 point lead in the 2nd quarter managing to hold on for a 75-61 victory. QB Randy Hippeard managed to pass for 318 yards on 28 of 37 passing tossing eight touchdowns.
The 2012 road schedule has been unkind for the Lions with their lone two road victories coming against the PIFL’s two cellar dwellers. A victory on Saturday won’t come easy considering the Bucs are 42-3 all-time in the Smuggler’s Den. In their lone previous meeting in Louisiana taking place two years ago, Columbus fell on the left side of that column losing to the Swashbucklers 51-31.
To catch all of Saturday’s action, log on to www.columbuslions.net and click on the Listen Live icon. Coverage will begin at 7:55 PM ET with kickoff slated for 8:00 PM ET.