Columbus Lions beat Knoxville to open season - WRBL

Columbus Lions beat Knoxville to open season

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Columbus Lions opened their season in impressive fashion on Sunday. The Lions defeated the Knoxville Nighthawks 58-28

"But to come out here and play like we did on offense, I thought we did well on special teams and on defense," said head coach Jason Gibson. "But, we are not playing all three phases of football right now. That's what I got to fix."

"We did a great defensive job," said quarterback Garrett Sutphen. "Defense won this game. Offensively, we struggled in the beginning a little bit. We will get better. We will watch the film and see what we have to improve on."

"We came out; we knew we had to set the tone early," said linebacker Justen Rivers. "We have been stressing defense the whole training camp. Now that we have been stressing defense, the defense showed out a little bit."

Here is the Lions Press Release on the win.

In front of over 6,000 fans in attendance for "Military Appreciation Night," the Columbus Lions (1-0) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) easily handled the Knoxville Nighthawks (0-1) 58-28 in the 2013 season opener.

"It was the look we wanted to push out since the beginning of training camp," says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson.  "We brought in a bunch of high octane guys and I was pleased with the opening performance, still plenty of room to improve."

The match-up was never in doubt with Columbus opening a 20-7 lead at the end of the 1st quarter which ended on a blocked field goal return for a touchdown by LB Justen Rivers.  In fact, before the offense could muster much of a threat both the special teams and defense combined to score three of the Lions first four touchdowns.

Despite throwing three interceptions, Sutphen made his Lions debut tossing two touchdowns in addition to rushing for another as Columbus closed out the first half with a 22 point lead behind his rushing TD coupled with two Uno's from Chandler Brooks.

"Offensively we have some things to work on," continued Gibson.  "But it always helps when your defense puts you in short field situations."

It was a strong showing for a revamped defense that last season finished near the bottom in every defensive PIFL category.  On Sunday, the defense held Knoxville to just 231 yards of offense on 60 plays creating three turnovers and two sacks.

Next week the Nighthawks will hit the road once again this time traveling to Pennsylvania to take on the newest members of the PIFL in the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (0-1).  Meanwhile Columbus will go on the road for the first time this season paying a visit to their in-state rivals the Albany Panthers (1-0) on Saturday March 16 at 7:30 PM.

Dayne Young

Dayne is a sports anchor and reporter for WRBL. He started covering the Chattahoochee Valley in September 2012. More>>

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