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Lions win 67-56 to move to 2-2

05/11/2019 11:52 PM

 In a high scoring affair Saturday night in the Columbus Civic Center, the Columbus Lions (2-2) showed the league why they have the most explosive receiving core, defeating the Massachusetts Pirates (1-4) 67-56.
The scoring started from the jump as Tyler Rausa, who played for Columbus last year, knocked through a deuce to take an early 2-0 lead. Columbus would strike right back on a 3-play drive when Luke Collis connected with Chris Sanders-McCollum for a 23-yard touchdown. It would be the first of five touchdowns for the wide out, staking his claim as one of the deadliest receivers in the league.
The game didn’t come without its struggles as a pick six by Lawrence Austin put the Pirates up late in the first quarter 25-12. But just like how Massachusetts surrendered the lead vs Jacksonville last week, they were not able to hold on with the Lions. Columbus would outscore the road team 24-7 in the 2nd quarter. This was thanks to another touchdown by Sanders-McCollum and a 36-yard dagger to Paris Mack. Collis added a rushing touchdown of his own while Blake Erickson knocked through a 28-yard field goal.
Massachusetts wouldn’t go away easily. Although Collis would connect with Sanders-McCollum for his fourth touchdown of the night to extend the lead 60-42, reigning league MVP Sean Brackett found pay dirt on a 2-play drive that ended with a 17-yard pass to Devonn Brown. Minutes later, Chucky Williams scored on a scoop and score 45-yard fumble recovery to bring the Pirates within 4, 60-56, with 7 minutes to go.
But lighting would strike for a 5th time as Collis would lead the Lions on a 6 play, 40-yard drive that ate up five and a half minutes that ended with a 23-yard touchdown to Sanders-McCollum to cap off his night.
The Lions racked up a season high 345 total yards on offense, the most yards by an offense in the league this season. Luke Collis finished 25/38, 345 yards and six touchdowns while adding 2 more on the ground. Sanders-McCollum reeled in 10 catches for 141 yards to go along with his five touchdowns. Paris Mack also broke the century mark with 117 yards on 7 receptions and a touchdown. Bones Bagaunte, back from his suspension and recently inducted into the Cincinnati Football Hall of Fame, had 8 catches for 87 yards.
Although the score doesn’t say much, the defense played a massive part in the win. The defense was able to swarm to the football to combine for three tackles for losses and six pass break ups, three coming from Shattle Fenteng. Ken Washington and Greg Hall Jr. each added a sack, a big improvement for the Lions who came into the game with 3 sacks total all season. Massachusetts only converted two of seven third down chances while turning the ball over twice on downs in crunch time in the 2nd half.
The Lions, with momentum on their side, will have to go on the road and continue their impressive showing in the last two weeks as they take on the defending NAL Champions, the Carolina Cobras (3-1), Friday at 7PM. The Cobras suffered their first defeat on the road when they dropped 35-24 to the Jacksonville Sharks (3-1).