Week 4 Preview: Jacksonville Sharks vs. Columbus Lions

by Tyler Boutwell

The Lions will look to make Saturday their third win in a row to start the season and a second victory over the dastardly Jacksonville Sharks. The storyline this week includes a proverbial battle of experience versus youth. The Lions have started the season 2-0 but have struggled with turnovers and have not found consistent play from the quarterback position. Quarterback Darren Daniel has been both exhilarating at times and head scratching at others. The quarterback room will grow by one with the addition of Danny Southwick, a quarterback who spent the last year with the Jacksonville Sharks but was unseated by the undeniably talented but temperamental Last Chance U and former Nevada Wolfpack quarterback, Malik Henry.

In the week one matchup, the Lions prevailed in an overtime thriller that left Lions’ writer Alex Husting describing the team as “Cardiac Columbus”. The team lived up to the moniker with their 46-45 win against the San Antonio Gunslingers that required a defensive stand on the last drive in their last matchup before last week’s bye. Conversely, the Sharks have started the season 0-3 and will be desperate to dig themselves out of a hole that is unprecedented in Sharks’ history. Even 8 touchdowns in total from Sharks’ QB Henry was not enough to defeat the Columbus Cobras in their last game. Henry had a similarly strong game against the Lions in week one but also made costly mistakes. The Lions will need to slow down Henry and capitalize on his propensity for gun slinging to make sure that they maintain the misery for our hated rivals.

Another key to the performance will be the play of special teams. Several times the Lions were able to take advantage of excellent field positions and even scored a touchdown directly from kickoff. The return of kicker Ryan Gates will be critical as the kicker by committee approach forced by Gates’ absence in San Antonio had less than ideal results. Former Carver Tiger Jarmon Fortson will look to capitalize on an excellent start to the season as the Lions’ premier ironman. As always, the battle of the trenches will be decisive, and the play of Ken Washington and Jabari Buckley (A former Jacksonville Shark and 1st Team All-NAL Selection) will be important to watch. The Sharks will air out the ball and hope to spend all night hitting star wide-out and 2021 All-NAL Second Team selection Devin Wilson. The result will depend on the Lions solidifying their quarterback play and finding a way to slow down Henry’s fast start to the season.

2022 NAL Season tickets for the Lions are still on sale here.


The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 16th season in 2022. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 14 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its sixth season in 2022. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at chris@nationalarenaleague.com For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.