Columbus Lions set to open season on Sunday - WRBL

Columbus Lions set to open season on Sunday

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Via Lions Press Release:

It's been a long road, but the wait is finally over as the Columbus Lions of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) embark on their seventh season of indoor football when they make their 2013 season debut this Sunday March 10th at 4:00 PM when they play host to the Knoxville Nighthawks in "The Jungle" on "Military Appreciation Night."

After a quick exit in the playoffs, the Columbus Lions spent majority of the off-season trying to repair a defense that finished at or near the bottom in almost every major defensive category.  Last season as many as eleven rookies saw playing time, only LB Jamontay Pilson (6'3 275, NW Mississippi) returns while the rest of the defense is comprised of indoor veterans including LB Justen Rivers who returns for his seventh season with his hometown Lions.

Two of those veterans include DB's Marvin Bohannon (6'0 200, Winston Salem St.) and Anthony Shutt (6'0 190, Florida AM) whom both played for other squads in the PIFL.  This Sunday, Shutt will be making an appearance against his former squad while Bohannon will have to wait for an early trip to Huntsville before he can face off against the Hammers.

"Defense was a primary concern for us in the off-season and it showed during training camp," said Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson.  "The improved defense played with a bite we lacked last season and proved to be ahead of our offense and hopefully that will be reflected this Sunday."

Offensively, for the fifth consecutive opening season game the Lions offense will feature a new signal-caller with second year man Garrett Sutphen (6'4 220, UNC-Pembroke) getting the opening nod over Marcus Jones (6'4 225, Duke). 

Sutphen will have the difficulty of replacing the departed Randy Hippeard who enjoyed a successful 2012 campaign finishing on the PIFL's All-2nd Team after leading the league in passing touchdowns (72), passing yards (3,280), and completion percentage (64.5%).  Last season while with the AIF's Cape Fear Heroes, Sutphen shared quarterbacking duties as the Heroes swept their way to a league title.

For Knoxville, their 2013 season kicks off where last season ended.  On the week's final season, the Lions completed a three-game sweep of the Nighthawks defeating them 76-63 ending their inaugural season with a record of 1-11. 

After spending the past couple of seasons as an assistant with the AFL's Georgia Force, Cosmo DeMatteo will be making his head coaching debut for the Hawks.  
Much like Columbus, for the most part Knoxville will feature a different team with only seven players returning in all.  DB Ginikachi Ibe headlines the defense and last season he earned the 2012 PIFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honor after leading the league with ten interceptions.  Ibe proved to be a major thorn in the Lions side as four of the league-leading INT's happened against them.
For Knoxville to avoid a season like last year, it will be important for them to get off the ground running since they will appear on the road in their first three contests while same goes for Columbus considering after Sunday they will not see the friendly confines of the Columbus Civic Center again for another 41 days (April 20th vs. Richmond).

Can't make it to "The Jungle" on Sunday?  Be sure to log on to www.columbuslions.net and click on the "Listen Live" icon to catch all the play-by-play action via both video and audio.  For more information about tickets and group rates contact the Lions front office at 706-322-3336.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Kellogg's plant to close by end of 2015, company responds

    Update: Kellogg's plant to close by end of 2015, company responds

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:11:13 GMT
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to close by the end of 2015.The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to close by the end of 2015.
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to be shut down by the end of 2015.
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to be shut down by the end of 2015.
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Special Report: Selling seized guns

    Special Report: Selling seized guns

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:33:31 GMT
    Instead of destroying them, The Columbus Police Department is selling hundreds of seized guns. Some of the guns were used in crimes, others were found on the road- all of them now headed back to the streets.“The policeman in me says I’d rather not see that gun back on the street, we’ve already gotten a hold of it once, but you’ve got 550 guns- will every one of them be used in a crime? No. Some of them will be sold to someone that will enjoy the use of that gun for the rest of their life and ...
    Instead of destroying them, The Columbus Police Department is selling hundreds of seized guns. Some of the guns were used in crimes, others were found on the road- all of them now headed back to the streets.“The policeman in me says I’d rather not see that gun back on the street, we’ve already gotten a hold of it once, but you’ve got 550 guns- will every one of them be used in a crime? No. Some of them will be sold to someone that will enjoy the use of that gun for the rest of their life and ...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.