Columbus Lions clinch playoff berth with win at Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Columbus Lions clinched a spot in the Professional Indoor Football League playoffs with a 69-31 rout of the Alabama Hammers on Saturday night.

The win gave the Lions a 6-5 record, two games ahead of Georgia (4-7) and three ahead of the Hammers (3-8) in the American Conference. Nashville (9-2) is the American Conference champion.

The Lions play at Georgia on Friday in the regular-season finale. Columbus will then travel to Nashville on July 5 for the PIFL semifinals.

Saturday night's victory was also the Lions' first road win of the season.

The Lions put this game away early, outscoring the Hammers 28-3 in the first 17 minutes.

Leroy Vann scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and Jarmon Fortson caught an 18-yard TD pass from Luke Halpin as Columbus took a 21-3 lead after the first quarter.

Damian Daniels returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown and a 28-3 lead.

After Alabama scored a pair of touchdowns, Craig Carney kicked a field goal and an uno for a 32-17 halftime lead.

Columbus pulled away in the third quarter for a 53-24 lead as Fortson added two more TD catches.

Halpin scored a touchdown and Roshawn Marshall returned an interception for a score for the Lions in the fourth quarter.Daniels and Marshall finished with two interceptions apiece.

Fortson finished with seven catches for 125 yards. Chris Davis had six catches for 75 yards. Halpin went 18-of-28 passing for 235 yards.