Towards the middle of the third, Fayetteville pushed the deficit down to six with a Chris Johnson 26 yard touchdown run. But on the first play on the ensuing drive, Lions quarterback Todd Spitzer nailed wide receiver Tirone Morris for a 30-yard strike putting the Lions back up by 13. Led by kicker Carlos Martinez’s three uno’s, Columbus scored 19 points in the third putting them up by as much as 20. Martinez would finish the night with 14 points collecting four uno’s, four extra points and two field goals.
In what was probably the play of the game, the Lions defense stalled a Guard drive forcing Fayetteville to kick a long 60-yard field. The attempt by Fayetteville kicker Brandon Gilbert fell short of the uprights hitting the bass of the wall in the back of the end zone where it bounced directly into the hands of Lions return man Tirone Morris. Morris, with some key blocking, promptly returned it 58 yards for a touchdown giving Columbus the 34-13 going into the fourth quarter.
Fayetteville’s offense never seemed to gain any momentum as either turnovers or sacks halted a number of drives. Lion’s defensive backs Damian Daniels, Chris Goffer, and Jason Perry all collected INT’s while defensive lineman Maurice Jones finished the game with four sacks. The mere bright spot the Guard offensively was running Chris Johnson supplying two rushing touchdowns while back-up quarterback Nicolas Gildersleeve came in and led Fayetteville to two scoring drives.
“Even though this game seemed fairly easy for us, I’m not expecting much of the same next week considering it will be the third time we play Fayetteville in less than a month,” continues Head Coach Jason Gibson. “I was very pleased with all facets of our game tonight, but in order to beat them again we still must improve and stop some making mistakes with penalties and turnovers in the red zone.”
Securing of home field advantage means the road to the 2009 AIFA championship game will travel through Columbus. The Lions, who finished 7-0 at home during the regular season, can now take comfort in knowing that they will be hosting Fayetteville (8-6) for the first round on July 6th and quite possibly Reading (11-3) or Baltimore (9-5) for the second round of the playoffs tentative for July 13th.