The Columbus Lions will be taking on the Jacksonville Sharks in the inaugural NAL Championship Game next Monday. The Lions have played very well against the Sharks this season, but haven’t beaten them yet. That doesn’t mean Columbus can’t still win this game, however.
The Lions were dominated by the Sharks in Week 1, but in their matchup four weeks later, the Lions only lost to the Sharks by nine points. Ever since that game, the Lions have defeated every single opponent that they have faced. During their seven-game winning streak, Columbus has won by double digits in five of the seven games.
The Lions have the experience necessary to handle this championship game like professionals. Columbus has played in championships in back-to-back seasons, and they won both of them in dominating fashion. They won the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) Cup in 2015, and they took home the American Indoor Football (AIF) Championship in 2016, both under current head coach Jason Gibson. Experience means so much in championship games, and the Lions have plenty of experience that will help them next Monday.
That experience proved helpful in their playoff game against the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, which ended with the Lions winning by only two points. The Lions have two very capable quarterbacks in case one of them isn’t performing well. Their best quarterback during the regular season was Darren Daniel, who threw for 1,611 yards and 38 touchdowns, which gave him a quarterback rating of 104.17.
If Daniel isn’t playing well, then the Lions can turn to backup Mason Espinosa. Espinosa threw for 1,073 yards and 27 touchdowns, and he completed 66.7% of his passes. Both of those quarterbacks can throw to a very reliable weapon in Mike Reeve, who compiled 809 receiving yards and caught 21 touchdowns this season. The Lions also have Tristan Purifoy, who caught 19 touchdowns this season.
Don’t forget about Jarmon Forston, who reeled in 15 touchdowns this season for the Lions.
The Lions haven’t played well against Jacksonville, but the playoffs are a whole new season.
Columbus has a lot of experience after playing in two championship games, and that will be useful in the game next Monday. The Lions have looked like a new team since last losing to Jacksonville.
Another thing the Lions can use to their advantage is the fact that they have two very capable quarterbacks. The Lions have the perfect combination of experience and recent success to take down the Sharks next Monday in the NAL Championship Game.