Maybe they didn’t impress many of the more than 3,000 soldiers attending the game with their discipline, but the Columbus Lions found a way to roll over the D.C. Armor on Saturday.
Columbus receiver Troy Bergeron, a former Shaw standout, scored four touchdowns, the Lions’ defense accounted for three more and Columbus’ quarterback tandem amassed 240 yards passing in a 76-6 rout of the Armor at the Columbus Civic Center.
Lions defensive back Damian Daniels put Columbus ahead with a 20-yard interception return on the Armor’s first offensive play of the game, but while Columbus slowly built up a 41-6 halftime lead, the team was plagued by penalties.
Columbus (5-1) was flagged 10 times in the first half for a total of 72 yards and managed to earn only two first downs in the first half.
“I don’t think it was mental, really,” Lions defensive back Chris Goffer said. “Maybe it was early-game jitters or something. We just had to focus on the little things and make sure everybody knew what they were supposed to do.”
Whatever it was, Columbus tightened up in the second half and drew only three flags. But they were costly, accounting for 25 lost yards. All together, the flags cost the Lions 97 yards.
Despite the penalties, most of which were called against the defense, the Lions found ways to pick apart the Armor (1-4). Daniels and Goffer returned interceptions for scores before halftime, and Ryan Babb ran one back less than two minutes into the second half.
Bergeron was the offense’s most consistent weapon, picking up a game-high 111 receiving yards and scoring from 40 yards, 8 yards and twice from 17 yards out.
The victory came against a team struggling to score and still looking for its second win, but Bergeron said the Lions showed improvement a week after edging the Harrisburg Stampede 35-33.
“We were just trying to get better,” Bergeron said. “We’re trying to find some consistency right now, but I think we got a lot better this week.”
Columbus’ Gerald Gales scored on a 48-yard reception, quarterback Kevin Huff ran in a 5-yard score in his first start and new kicker Tony Yelk hit three of his five point-after attempts and added an uno in the first half.
The Armor’s only score of the game came midway through the second quarter, when quarterback Kenneth Irby found Gary Brigg for a 14-yard touchdown. Kicker Nick Ellis’ point-after attempt failed.
Columbus quarterback Bill Ashburn played the second half, when he hit Bergeron for three of his scores. Fullback Richard Fitzhugh scored on an 8-yard run with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Yelk finished 8-for-10 on point-after attempts.
Brigg was involved in plenty of action on and off the field after starting at receiver and then taking over at quarterback for much of the game after Irby went out injured. He exchanged shoves with a fan near the team’s sideline at the end of the second half. The fan left the game on his own accord after the incident while Brigg stayed in, finishing 3-for-12 with two interceptions.
Huff was 4-for-8 with 110 yards and an interception, and Ashburn was 12-for-17 with 130 yards. Both quarterbacks had three touchdowns.
“Obviously, we’ve been playing two quarterbacks every game, and it’s been working for us,” Lions coach Jason Gibson said. “I want to have two game-ready quarterbacks, and both guys are showing they can play.”
Contact Chris White at 706-571-8571
Saturday at Columbus
DC 0 6 0 0—6
Columbus 21 20 21 14—76
C – Damian Daniels 25 interception return (Tony Yelk kick), 11:54
C – Yelk uno, 11:54
C – Gerald Gales 48 pass from Kevin Huff (kick failed), 5:48
C – Troy Bergeron 40 pass from Huff (Yelk kick), 1:22
C – Huff 5 run (Yelk kick), 13:02
W – Gary Brigg 14 pass from Kenneth Irby (kick failed), 8:44
C – Jawarski Pollack 9 pass from Huff (kick failed), 7:10
C – Chris Goffer 20 interception return (Yelk kick), 1:00
C – Ryan Babb 33 interception return (Yelk kick), 13:04
C – Bergeron 8 pass from Bill Ashburn (Yelk kick), 8:03
C – Bergeron 17 pass from Ashburn (Yelk kick), 3:33
C – Bergeron 17 pass from Ashburn (Yelk kick), 7:58
C – Richard Fitzhugh 8 run (Yelk kick), :22