A bounce back win is in order this Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Lions will look to turn things around after a 67-48 humbling against the defending champion Albany Empire (9-5, Second in the NAL) dropped Columbus to 4-4 on the season. The Lions remain in third place in the National Arena League (NAL) but are still in the thick of the race for the coveted top two seeds which offer home field advantage in the playoffs. Carolina have been thriving this season with only occasional blips. Those blips included a 55-28 Loss at the Columbus Civic Center and now the potential loss of their, league leading 48 passing touchdown and counting, star quarterback, Jonathan Bane. Bane left last week's loss to the San Antonio Gunslingers with an apparent injury. The injury came on a botched extra point attempt that saw Bane knocked out of the game with 10:35 to play. Having lost the game by one point, 61-60, it is understating the significance of the play by describing it as pivotal. Despite the adversity, the Cobras still sit 1st in the NAL with a 7-3 record. Saturday night is a huge opportunity for the Lions to close the gap.
The Cobras have responded to the injury crisis by bringing in a familiar face. Malik Henry has been acquired after being released by the dastardly Jacksonville Sharks. Henry has significant talent but alleged character issues took him from a top prospect out of high school and Florida State Seminole to a stint in Independence, Kansas which was the subject of a Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U. Henry seems poised to have a least one more chance this Saturday.
Columbus will be buoyed by a couple of additions as well. The trenches will be strengthened with the additions of Former Glenville State Pioneer Justin Cook and Clemson Tiger alumnus and Columbus Lion veteran Corey Crawford. Both will be joining the team for their trip to the Tar Heel State.
Things to watch: the play of quarterback Daniel Smith who has had a good start to his Lions' career with 11 touchdown passes and only 4 interceptions and Ironman Kerry Starks, who will look to continue a stellar season that has seem him tied for 1st place in sacks at 7.0 and 5th in rushing for the season. Smith will have to be careful when throwing against the Cobras' defensive back Cris Page who has recorded four interceptions on the season, good for 2nd in the NAL. The most important variable will be the availability of Jonathan Bane who has accounted for 53 touchdowns in total this year and leads the league in passing yards with 2,364 through 9 and 3/4 games. If Bane cannot go, the Cobras will need a significant performance from Henry and company if they want to do better than they did in Columbus.
The game can be watched on YouTube for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e3MdrWDdW8
ABOUT THE COLUMBUS LIONS
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.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
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 firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.