How dominant have the 4-0 Columbus Lions been so far against the rest of American Indoor Football?
Their point total Saturday night in a 65-15 win over the Myrtle Beach Freedom at the Columbus Civic Center matches the total number of points they have allowed in their four games played so far this season.
The season total score is Lions 306, opponents 65. That’s defeating their opponents by an average of 60 points per game.
You can’t get caught up in the score and how bad you beat somebody. We talked in the locker room about getting better at your position, getting better on film, competing against the team and not making mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes in the second half. We’re human.
Josh Gibson, Lions coach
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Michael Reeve and John Harris were the offensive stars on Saturday, pacing the offense in the victory over the Freedom by scoring seven of the nine Columbus touchdowns in the game.
After Shonquez Nelson tackled Myrtle Beach quarterback Will Newsome in the end zone for a safety and the opening score of the game, Reeve and Harris went to work.
Lions quarterback Casey Kacz found Reeve for a 39-yard pass and score with 10:54 to go in the opening quarter to put the Lions up 10-0 after a two-point conversion. After that, it was time for Harris to shine, scoring the next three touchdowns for Columbus on receptions of 21, 1 and 28 yards.
Harris, a seven-year veteran, entered this season in perhaps the best shape of his career.
“I just worked a lot on speed this summer, so I came in a whole lot faster than I normally do,” Harris said. “Instead of working on mass, I worked on speed, and it looks like it’s paying off pretty well for me.
“This last week I didn’t get in the end zone, so I took it personally. I had a good week in practice and a good week in the gym. I just came in focused, trying to go for my team.”
“Well, he dropped two (touchdown passes),” Lions coach Jason Gibson deadpanned. “John will tell you that. But he played great. John’s a vet, and it’s been great to have him healthy this whole year. He’s probably the fastest guy in the league.”
After the Harris trifecta of touchdowns, it was Reeve’s turn to shine as he scored the final touchdown of the second quarter for the Lions on a 16-yard pass to give them a 42-0 halftime lead, then scoring on the opening possession of the second half with a 20-yard reception from Kacz. Reeve finished with four touchdown receptions and 151 receiving yards, by far the leader in the latter category. He now has a whopping 15 touchdown receptions in four games.
However, the Lions were slowed a bit in the second half by some misfires on offense, outscoring Myrtle Beach only 23-15 in the final two quarters and actually going scoreless in the fourth quarter. It mirrored the first half against Atlanta last week, where they only led the Vultures 19-8 at halftime.
“We played well,” said Gibson. “You can’t get caught up in the score and how bad you beat somebody. We talked in the locker room about getting better at your position, getting better on film, competing against the team and not making mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes in the second half. We’re human.”
The team played without star receiver Jarmon Fortson and offensive lineman Brandon Thomas.
“Jarmon had an abscessed tooth,” Gibson said. “We wanted to sit him out for precautionary reasons. Brandon tweaked his knee.
“We felt like that was a chance to play some other guys, get some guys on film, and really figure out what they could do so we could make a qualified decision for next week’s game.”
After Saturday night’s victory, Columbus turns its attention to next week’s opponent, the 2-0 Florida Tarpons. Many around the AIF have circled the game as the field’s best shot to break the Lions’ undefeated streak. From all indications, the Lions welcome the challenge. The two teams will battle next Saturday night with kickoff at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Civic Center.
“We’re going to enjoy this win tonight, but we want Florida,” said Harris. “We’re tired of hearing about them. We’re tired of hearing how good they are. They’re going to come to the Jungle, and we’re going to see the outcome.”
“There’s a lot at stake,” said Gibson. “The loser of that game travels (for the playoffs); the winner stays home. I’m looking forward to it. They’re a great organization with great players. It’s exciting to play against them, and I’m sure they feel the exact same way.”
Lions 65, Freedom 15
Saturday at Columbus Civic Center
C – Safety (Shonquez Nelson quarterback sack in end zone), 12:44.
C – Michael Reeve 39 pass from Casey Kacz (Byron Dickerson run), 10:54.
C – John Harris 21 pass from Kacz (run failed), 6:20.
C – Harris 1 pass from Kacz (Lindsey Wolfe kick), 0:51.
C – Harris 28 pass from Kacz (kick failed), 9:56.
C – Larry Edwards blocked field goal in end zone (Wolfe kick), 6:33.
C – Reeve 16 pass from Kacz (kick failed), 1:00.
C – Reeve 20 pass from Kacz (Wolfe kick), 12:52.
C – Wolfe deuce, 12:52.
M – Dontre Sanford 27 pass from Will Newsome (kick failed), 6:19.
M – Rouge (John Harris tackled in end zone on kickoff return), 6:19.
C – Reeve 10 pass from Kacz (Wolfe kick), 1:48.
C – Dickerson 14 pass from Kacz (Wolfe kick), 0:00.
M – Franklin King 12 run (Vic Leventritt kick), 1:21.
Records: Columbus 4-0, Myrtle Beach 2-2. Next: Columbus, home vs. Florida, Saturday at 7 p.m.; Myrtle Beach, at Georgia, Saturday at 7:05 p.m.