|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football League
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (June 10, 2012) – On Saturday, the Columbus Lions (5-6) of the Professional Indoor Football League dropped a 57-54 nail-bitter to in-state rival Albany Panthers (10-1) leaving their playoff positioning still undecided.
Like it has for the past couple of weeks, the turnover bug continued to nip the Lions in the rear. Against the ropes for majority of the bout, the Panthers overcame an 18-point halftime deficit thanks to four turnovers including a key defensive fumble recovery in the end-zone. Minus a Uno by kicker Trey Crum, the Columbus offense was held scoreless for the entirety of the 3rd quarter as Albany scored 20 unanswered points to start off the 2nd half.
In just a six minute span, the two clubs would take each other’s best shot exchanging the lead on five occasions. Up 50-48 with 1:45 remaining, Albany seized control when a fourth-down pass from Lions QB Randy Hippeard sailed over its intended target. Receivers London Crawford and Maurice Dupree finished with three touchdowns a piece while defensive back Cortez Stubbs and linebacker Justen Rivers both came away with interceptions.
With the victory, the Panthers (10-1) all but clinched home-field advantage insuring that all roads leading to the inaugural PIFL Championship will run through Albany. Before getting ready for their opening round playoff game on Saturday June 23rd, the defending champs will have a season finale meeting against the second place Richmond Raiders (9-2) in what could prove to be a championship preview.
Despite having already clinched a playoff spot in the PIFL’s impending playoffs, with the Louisiana Swashbucklers (5-6) falling 58-42 to the Alabama Hammers the Lions wasted a golden opportunity on Saturday to clinch the 3rd seed.
For the first time in franchise history Columbus dropped its third consecutive contest and will look forward to next Saturday’s meeting against the cellar dwelling Knoxville Nighthawks (1-10) on the season’s final day in hopes of avoiding finishing below .500.
Columbus’ playoff positioning will ride on the fate of what the Swashbucklers do on their season finale next Saturday against the Hammers. If Alabama were to win, Columbus will finish as the third-seed and would face the second-place Raiders for a first round match-up on Monday June 25th in Richmond, VA. If Louisiana were victorious, then the Lions would finish the regular-season as the fourth-seed setting up a first round meeting with Albany on Saturday June 23rd.
Be sure to join the Lions in their regular season finale next Saturday versus the Nighthawks as the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a sport’s bottle courtesy of Rivertown Ford. For group rates and ticket information, contact the Lions front office at 706-322-3336.