06/10/2018 4:57 PM
Behind a stellar defense and a dominant run game, the Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night. The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year.
HB/FB Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.
The rowdy crowd in “The Jungle” might have helped the Lions Saturday night, but give the Lions defense credit for a great performance. After struggling in the past couple games, the Lions defense stepped up in a big way. The Lions tallied three sacks, five tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and intercepted the ball three times. The Mammoths tried to fight back but key interceptions by Tyler Stephenson and Robert Sands stopped drives that had the potential to make the game closer. The Lions are not typically known for forcing turnovers but forced five on Saturday. DB Tyler Stephenson spoke on the Lions defensive mindset.
“We wanted to set the tone early and for the rest of the season” Stephenson said, “we made getting turnovers a priority”.
With eight games left and no bye weeks, this was a much-needed win for the Lions. They now sit in second place in the NAL, just behind the Carolina Cobras. They currently hold the tiebreaker over the Cobras after that thrilling, last-second win in May.
The Lions will be back in action next Saturday, on the road against the Massachusetts Pirates. The game can be seen on YouTube.