|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (June 16, 2012) – Thanks to a four touchdown performance from WR London Crawford, on Saturday the Columbus Lions (6-6) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) defeated the Knoxville Nighthawks (1-12) 76-63 and now will prepare for a playoff run that will take place entirely on the road.
With the win, Columbus snapped the franchise’s first ever three-game losing streak and by virtue of the 75-70 Louisiana Swashbucklers (6-6) victory over the Alabama Hammers the Lions will spend the next week preparing for a playoff meeting with their arch-rival Albany Panthers (10-2).
Thanks to a Ramon Broadway 45-yard fumble recovery for touchdowns, the Lions came out of the gates fire red racing to an early 21-3 lead into the 2nd quarter. That wouldn’t be the only time Broadway would reach the end-zone as the speedster opened the second half with a 47-yard kickoff return for touchdown extending the Lions halftime lead to 41-23.
Despite surrendering 345 yards through the air, Columbus’ defense made up for it by gathering three turnovers including an interception a piece by DB’s Derek Douglas and Cortez Stubbs. It was Stubbs fifth INT of the season and pushed him into a three-way tie for the team-lead with both DB’s David Smith and Anthony Merritt.
In fact, Knoxville outgained Columbus by 98 yards but it was the ability to punch it in the end-zone that made the difference as the Lions scored in all but two of their 14 drives. Even as the Nighthawks began cutting into their lead, Columbus scored touchdowns in each of their final five possessions to seal the victory.
Hot off his Week 12 performance in which he earned the PIFL’s Offensive Player of the Week, WR London Crawford became Mister Everything on Saturday scoring four touchdowns by running in two, throwing for one, and receiving another. He capped off the 2012 regular season by hauling in 10 receptions pushing him over the century mark for the season (103), the only receiver in the PIFL to do so.
Not to be outdone, on Saturday teammate WR Maurice Dupree grabbed two more touchdowns finishing the season as the league-leader with 40. Mr. Reliable Gerald Gales pulled three touchdowns as well moving his Lions career total up to 87.
With the losing streak off their backs, Columbus will now look ahead to a first round playoff meeting with in-state rival Albany Panthers who closed out the regular season by losing their finale 67-66 to the Richmond Raiders via a game-winning field goal as time expired from K T.C. Stevens.
It will be the second playoff meeting between these two clubs in as many years with Albany getting the best of Columbus last season 75-61 in the Conference Semi-Finals. The Lions will be looking for revenge but will have to do so in Albany, a place where their career record is just 1-3.
The First Round playoff action will take place on Saturday June 23rd with kickoff slated for 7:30 PM. To follow all the coverage log on to www.columbuslions.net and click on the Listen Live icon as your Lions venture off in hopes of obtaining the franchise’s second championship.