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Defense carrying 4-1 Columbus

Columbus Lions coach didn’t expect to be entering tonight’s game against the D.C. Armor with one of the best records in the AIFA.

“I thought we might start 2-1, but to be at 4-1 going into (the game against) D.C., I honestly didn’t think we’d be here,” coach Jason Gibson said. “But this league is funny and real quick we can be 5-6. But right now I’m happy with where we are.”

And he didn’t expect to get here on defense.

After a preseason highlighted by the signing of three promising rookie quarterbacks and the early-season signing of indoor football star receiver Troy Bergeron, the Lions have quietly stayed one step ahead of their oppenents on the back of a retooled and much-improved defense.

In the first game of the season, the defense blocked three kicks and held the Carolina Speed to eight second-half points as the offense rallied for a 50-49 win. And last week at the Harrisburg Stampede, the Lions defense used turnovers to limit the Stampede to 10 second-half points and give the Columbus offense a chance to come back in the second half for a 35-33 victory.

Despite the close games, Columbus’ defense knew it would get off to a strong start after bringing in players such as Chris Goffer and Dexter Reid and putting in a solid preseason camp.

“I didn’t think we’d be 4-1, either. I thought we’d be 5-0,” defensive lineman Mike Berry said.. “We expected that. We want to be 6-1 and then 12-1 and whatever it takes to win a championship now.”

Last season, Columbus sat at the bottom of several defensive categories. But this season the AIFA’s statistics track the Lions’ improvement.

The Lions lead the league with 16 sacks — led by Berry’s four — and interceptions with 18.

Those stats are in stark contrast to the Armor’s numbers. They are last in the AIFA in scoring, posting an average of 18.2 points per game and 13th in total offense. But the Lions will stay wary of the potentially lopsided matchup.

“I haven’t seen a whole lot of him, but they have a good QB and a couple other good players,” Berry said. “Our D is just going to keep doing what we’re doing and go out like every week and have a big game against any team we play.”

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