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Bergeron to sign with Columbus Lions

The Columbus Lions’ offense managed to rally for a 50-49 victory Saturday night over the Carolina Speed, but that doesn’t mean the team is not looking for a little extra firepower.

Former Shaw receiver and indoor football standout Troy Bergeron will sign with the team this week, adding more depth to the Lions’ experienced receiving corps.

Bergeron, who was a three-year starter and a member of Shaw’s undefeated 2000 state championship team, was the 2005 Arena Football League Rookie of the Year after scoring 31 touchdowns on 105 catches while accumulating 1,372 yards for the Georgia Force. He also spent a season with the af2’s Columbus Wardogs and did stints at the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp and as a member of the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad.

“(Bergeron) is just a great receiver, and this is going to be the biggest signing ever for this league,” Lions coach Jason Gibson said.

Columbus will sign Bergeron at a press conference Wednesday.

The Lions did all right without him in their opener.

Columbus quarterback Bill Ashburn completed five touchdown passes and ran in a score of his own in his first game in the American Indoor Football Association. The Lions’ defense held Carolina to eight points in the second half and blocked a field goal with three seconds left in the game to hold on for the 50-49 victory.

Columbus receivers Joel Babb and Gerald Gales each caught a pair of touchdown passes from Ashburn.

“I thought Bill did a great job,” Gibson said.

The Speed scored 41 points in the first half behind three touchdown receptions by Josh Smith.

“It was not a pretty game for us in the first half,” Gibson said. “We made some adjustments in the second half and managed to hold them to eight points. Carolina is a great team, and we did a good job of shutting them down after that.”

Carolina kicker Chris Brewer missed two field goals in the fourth quarter, including an attempt with three seconds left.

Lions linebacker Justen Rivers finished with three blocked field goals, a safety and a sack, and had to fill in at right guard as the Lions coped with a serious of minor injuries.

Defensive lineman Franklin Lloyd was the Lions’ only serious injury. He went out with a dislocated shoulder and will be evaluated today. He could miss up to two weeks depending on the severity of the injury, Gibson said.

The injuries and nagging cramps exposed the Lions’ level of conditioning, Gibson said.

“We know now that we need to get in better shape,” he said.

The Lions open their home schedule at 4 p.m. Sunday, when they host Carolina.