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Lions Drop First Round Playoff Game 67-43

August 8, 2019 - National Arena League (NAL) - Columbus Lions News Release

The Columbus Lions couldn't overcome their demons, falling to their rival Jacksonville in the semifinal game 67-43. With the loss, the Lions' hope of reaching a third consecutive NAL Championship comes to a halt.

Columbus would strike first after causing a fumble on the opening kickoff and quarterback Bryan Hicks sneaking in for a touchdown. But after the Sharks and Mike Fafaul answered back with a touchdown pass to Durron Neal, Hicks would throw a pick six deep in Jacksonville territory, returned by Markus Smith to put the Sharks up 16-6. Although Ulric Jones would pouce on a fumble for a touchdown and Hicks found his way into the endzone late in the 2nd quarter, Jacksonville would enter the half with a 37-22 lead.

Columbus would answer back in the opening of the 3rd quarter as the explosive Paris Mack opened up the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown. Desmond Reese would add a touchdown run and the Lions entered the 4th down 44-35. But Jacksonville would turn up the heat, outscoring Columbus 23-8 in the final quarter on their way to a win.

Hicks would end the day, completing 22/44 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Hicks, who replaced Luke Collis late in the year, help Columbus clinch a playoff birth and knock off the Carolina Cobras in the final game of the season. Hicks ends the season with 900 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.

For the receiving core, Triston Purifoy lead the team in catches with seven and 2nd in yards with 61. Paris Mack looked like his old self on the touchdown catch, ending the season with over 900 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Bones Baguante eclipsed 100 catches and 1,000 yards to go along with his 29 touchdowns, all three stats leading the team.

Shattle Fenteng led the game with 6 tackles, all solo. He ends with 53 tackles for the season, 10 more than anyone else on the team, 24 pass breakups and three interceptions. Ken Washington added two sacks against the Sharks as well. Greg Hall Jr, with 5.5 sacks, ends the season as the sack leader. Both Kyle Griswould and Kassim Forbes ended the season with a team high four interceptions.

The 2019 Columbus Lions finish with a record of 6-9 on the season and finishing 4th in the NAL standings.

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