Columbus’ Eddie Ravenell isn’t accustomed to losing on Saturday nights, and it’s because he and rest of the Lions’ defensive backs have gotten used to winning every day of the week.
“Every day we come out and want to be the best,” Ravenell said. “We always want to win, even at practice.”
Watching them each day, it’s easy to see why the Lions have the league’s top corps of defensive backs, said Lions coach Jason Gibson.
“It might offend some of the other guys to say it, but it’s true,” Gibson said. “Those guys work harder at practice than anyone else, and you can see that when you watch them.”
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Heading into tonight’s game against the Lafayette Wildcatters (0-2), Southern Indoor Football League statistics back the coach up. Columbus defensive backs occupy five spots in the list of top 10 SIFL players in interceptions per game, and the Lions (2-1) lead the league in scoring defense, limiting opponents to an average 32.7 points per game.
Lions defensive back Damian Daniels has only played one game but had two interceptions and sits atop the chart. Ravenell, who had three interceptions in the Lions’ season opener, is No. 4 in the league with four total for an average of 1.33 per game.
Columbus’ Ryan Babb had two interceptions last week against North Georgia, both for touchdowns, and is part of a logjam with teammate Barry Tate at No. 5 on the list, averaging a pick a game. And the Lions’ Anthony Merritt is at No. 8 with two in three games.
The bevy of experience between the defensive backs and their results have the Lions playing more confidently this season, Ravenell said.
“This is the first year that I’m able to not worry about the guy next to me and what he’s going to do,” Ravenell said.
“It’s comfortable playing with these guys.”
Recruiting the corps of cornerbacks and safeties was somewhat easy for Lions coach Jason Gibson. Damian Daniels and Anthony Merritt, both former Shaw standouts, and Babb, a former Central-Phenix City and Troy player, were local talent looking to continue playing.
Gibson knew Ravenell from his days coaching him on an indoor team in Raleigh, N.C. And Keon Newson and Barry Tate showed up at tryouts and were impressive.
“The main thing is, Coach did a good job putting this group together,” Babb said. “We’ve got a lot of vets, which definitely helps because everybody knows what to expect and there’s great camaraderie in the group.”
Chris White, 706-571-8571