In the Columbus Lions’ last home game, they made indoor football history by becoming the first U.S.-based team to play an opponent south of the border, defeating the Monterrey Steel.
They look to make more exciting history on Saturday night.
Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain as of Friday evening for their 7 p.m. game at the Columbus Civic Center against the Dayton Wolfpack.
The Lions are hosting a large contingent of soldiers who will be bussed in from Fort Benning as part of their annual Military Appreciation Night game. They will arrive at the Civic Center at 5 p.m., with fans encouraged to arrive early to greet them as they make their way into the arena.
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Prior to that, the Chris Collins Band will be holding a free concert at 4 p.m. in front of the Civic Center.
The Lions will hit the field against the Wolfpack for their penultimate home game of the regular season. They will host the Corpus Christi Rage on June 3 in the only other game in Columbus prior to the start of the playoffs.
The second half of the season’s schedule sets up well for the Lions to make a run, a feat head coach Jason Gibson has maintained his team will accomplish heading into the inaugural National Arena League playoffs.
At 4-3, the Lions are in third place in the NAL standings, two games behind 6-1 Lehigh Valley and three games behind undefeated Jacksonville. The top four teams in the league will make the postseason, with 3-2 Monterrey staking claim to the fourth and final spot with the 3-3 High Country Grizzlies a half-game behind.
The Lions will travel to face High Country on May 27. The Grizzlies play their home games in Boone, N.C., on the campus of Appalachian State University.
After their final home game against Corpus Christi, Columbus closes out the regular season with trips to Monterrey on June 12 and to Albany to face the Georgia Firebirds on June 17, all opponents the Lions have previously defeated this season.
The Lions offense continues to click along, averaging a third-best 54 points per game. In terms of yardage, their 247 yards per game is just five behind league-leading Jacksonville, but their 232 receiving yards per contest leads all teams. Their offense has had the most chances of any team in the NAL as well, with their 304 plays from scrimmage at least 35 more than every other team in the league. The receiving corps are a big part of the Lions’ offensive success as Jarmon Fortson and Michael Reeve are 1-2 in the NAL in receiving yards, with Reeve leading the league in receiving touchdowns.
The defense has tightened up as well, holding their last two opponents – Jacksonville and Monterrey – to their season lows in scoring. The addition of players such as linebacker Larry Edwards from the Georgia Firebirds have helped solidify the Lions’ defense between the tackles, while the gifted athletes Columbus has in the secondary are quickly learning the ropes of the indoor game and becoming a formidable backfield.
Gates open Saturday night at 6 p.m., with the “Lions Walk” beginning in the Civic Center lobby ten minutes prior.