Columbus Lions end four game losing streak - WRBL

Columbus Lions end four game losing streak

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Behind three turnovers and a six touchdown performance from QB Marcus Jones, the Columbus Lions (4-6) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 59-48 victory over the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (6-5) on Sunday.

If you have spent time with any member of the Columbus Lions organization over the past month you know the weight of their now abolished four-game losing streak was having on the entire team.

"Losing can become a disease if it lingers," says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson.  "That monkey is finally off our shoulders and can now establish some confidence."

Despite Steelhawks QB Adam Bednarik passing for 355 yards, the Lions defense created a suffocating pocket in addition to cutting off the short underneath passes that he is accustomed to throwing.

"That was the main job of DE Joshua Gipson," continues Coach Gibson.  "Everyone has a job and Josh played up to his billing and even got a touchdown for his reward."

For just the second time this season Bednarik was intercepted three times, previous time was against Columbus back on May 5th, including one mid-way in the 2nd quarter by DE Gibson who promptly returned his interception 20-yards back for a touchdown.  Also getting in on the act was DB Leroy Vann, who now has interceptions in back-to-back games, as well as Daniel Lee who normally plays wide receiver but was subbing in for an injured Vann at the time.

After giving up a touchdown on the first possession of the game, the Columbus defense held the Steelhawks scoreless for the remainder of the opening half skating to a 35-7 lead into the break.  The loss of a short passing window also led to the Lions sacking Bednarik four times with LB Justen Rivers, LB/WR Jarmon Fortson, DL Gipson, and DL Brandon Davis all getting one a piece. 

Subbing for QB Lee Chapple who was out nursing a concussion he sustained the prior week,  QB Marcus Jones filled in admirably accounting for 246 total yards (95 rushing, 151 passing) and six touchdowns (4 rushing, 2 passing).  Lions also posted the best 3rd conversion rate of the season going 6 of 8 scoring touchdowns on two of those conversions.

Even though both teams combined to go 1 for 13 on field goal attempts, Columbus felt a sense of ecstasy as newly signed kicker Craig Camay went a perfect 8 for 8 on PAT tries becoming just the second time all season in which a Lions kicker went 100% on PAT attempts.

Columbus maintains their hopes of extending their franchise streak of six consecutive seasons of making playoffs ending the clubs longest losing streak in franchise history.  Meanwhile the Lehigh's loss puts an end to their four-game winning streak, leaving them with just one regular season contest which will take place on June 15th in Albany.  A win two weeks from now will make them a lock for the impending playoffs.

On Saturday June 8th the Lions will host their in-state rivals the Albany Panthers (5-4) in the 2013 regular-season home finale.  It will be the first of back-to-back meetings for Columbus against Albany with the ladder coming on the season's final week on June 22nd in Albany.

With four teams separated by .150 percentage points in the standings, the fourth and final playoff spot could very well come down to the final two meetings versus Albany.

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