|By: Matthew Hester
Columbus Lions Indoor Football
Media Relations Director
COLUMBUS, GA (June 24, 2012) – On Saturday, the Columbus Lions (6-7) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) failed to come away with a playoff win for the first time since 2008 when they were defeated 60-36 by the Division Champion Albany Panthers (11-2).
For the second consecutive season the Columbus Lions season and championship hopes were put to a screeching halt by their in-state rivals in the Albany Panthers. Come next Saturday June 30th, Columbus will have to once again have to watch as the Panthers will either host the Louisiana Swashbucklers or Richmond Raiders in the inaugural PIFL Championship.
The defending champion Albany Panthers played with a lot of moxie Saturday night, especially with their starting QB Cecil Lester watching from the sidelines due to an injury sustained back in the June 9th regular season meeting versus Columbus. In his place stepped in Darnell Kennedy, who before tonight was the starter in the Panthers lone two losses this season, guided half of this twelve completed passes for touchdowns in route to 169 yards passing leading Albany eight scoring drives on the evening.
For Columbus, it was inconsistency on offense and the lack of big plays on defense that made the difference. Early in the 4th quarter with the game still in the balance, the Lions defense forced their one and only turnover on downs giving the offense a chance to get within one of Albany. But it would never be as the offense gave the ball back to Albany due to a turnover on downs.
From then on it was as they say history as the Panthers scored 16 unanswered points, including the last score of the game on a two-point conversion at the 2:45 mark, to close out the 4th quarter. 2nd team All-PIFL receiver Antwone Savage only made four catches, but he made them count as all four of his receptions were good for touchdowns.
Lions QB Randy Hippeard endured a long night, especially considering the 3,000 yard passer broke his thumb on the very first play from scrimmage. That play also happened to be lone turnover of the night with Hippeard getting hit from behind causing a fumble recovery by Albany’s Chauncey Debose. Despite the injury, Randy managed to complete 21 of 32 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
From here Columbus will have to enter another off-season in which their in-state rivals bested them in the semi-finals as well as take a deep look at a playoff roster that featured as many as eleven rookies’ making their playoff debuts.
To keep up with all the off-season activities from the Columbus Lions, including the Youth Summer Football Camps which will take place on July 23-25, log on to www.columbuslions.net or contact the front office at 706-322-3336 as well as log on to the club’s Facebook page and become a member of Lions Nation.
The Columbus Lions announced they will become a member of the Arena Developmental League on Tuesday afternoon. The Lions join the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, who announced their intentions to join the ADL on Tuesday morning, as the first two franchises to commit to the ADL. “As a staff and an ownership group, at all times, it’s about the product we put on the field for our fans,” said Lions head coach and general manager Jason Gibson. “Our No. 1 priority was moving up and bringing in a higher caliber of entertainment, teams, coaches, and personnel from top to bottom. It’s a great opportunity for us, and we felt we owed it to our fans. “Our players need a platform to show what they can do. This league will harness their talent and get guys where they need to be. Some of the best satisfaction for a coach is to see players down the road have success. I’m excited.” Both the Lions and Steelhawks have been established indoor football ...