Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (3-1) had to fight for sixty minutes but in the end, took down the king of the jungle, the visiting Columbus Lions (2-2) in an intense National Arena League Battle. On a game that came down to the final play, it was the Steelhawks that came out on top – Lehigh Valley 60, Columbus 54.
The first quarter saw Lehigh Valley jump out on top, taking a 15 point lead by the end. QB Warren Smith Jr. found a different ’Hawk on each of his three touchdown throws, receivers Warren Oliver Jr. and Brandon Renford snagging the first two and then Shawn Lockett grabbed a four yard td pass on a fullback delay as the quarter ended.
Columbus outscored the ’Hawks in the second quarter, but still trailed heading into halftime 28-20. QB Darren Daniel found WR Michael Reeve for the first of his four touchdowns at the close of the quarter to cut Lehigh Valley’s lead to eight.
The game remained close, and Lehigh Valley’s lead shrunk by two by the end of the third. Smith Jr. was the lone ’Hawk to put points on the board as he scampered 21 yards for a score. On the opposing side, Daniel found the workhorse of his receiving core, Jarmon Fortson, who recorded 116 yards receiving, for a 30 yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
The action picked up in the fourth quarter as Columbus took their first lead of the game early on a Reeve touchdown catch. Renford followed it up with his second touchdown grab, crashing into the endzone boards. Then kicker Spencer Hotaling came up clutch as he hit a DEUCE on the ensuing kickoff; and then after the defense forced a turnover on downs, he hit a 46 yard field goal to extend the Steelhawks lead to five. Another offensive lineman joined in the touchdown club as Bret Piekarski caught a nine yard pass from Smith Jr. to put Lehigh Valley up 12 with less than three minutes left to play. But as fans know, that size lead is never safe in arena football and Columbus battled back with two quick touchdowns to take a one point lead with 19 seconds left.
After a short completion and an incomplete pass; there were seven seconds left on the clock, it was third down and the ball was on the Steelhawks 21 yard line. On that play, Smith Jr. found Renford for a short pass over the middle and he bee-lined it for the corner of the endzone; the result, a 29 yard touchdown pass that left two seconds on the clock. A squib kick and a tackle ended the game; the Steelhawks had taken down the Lions. Final score: Lehigh Valley 60, Columbus 54.
Smith Jr. threw for 234 yards and 7 touchdowns and ran for another… Renford had 8 catches for 106 yards, 3 tds… Oliver Jr. added 9 catches for 96 yards, 2 tds… DB Rodney Hall Jr. led the team with 13 tackles… DBs Dom Joseph and Eddie Davis III each had an interception.
The 60 points scored were enough to complete the Domino’s 50 Point Challenge. For the next three days, fans can get 50% off menu priced pizzas at participating Lehigh Valley locations. Use the code SH50 online, or mention the Steelhawks 50 point challenge.
The ’Hawks return to action after a short week to take on the Georgia Firebirds on Embassy Bank Field in the PPL Center on Saturday, April 15th, with a 7pm kickoff. This is the second of a four game home stand for Lehigh Valley.
2017 season ticket and individual game packages to watch the Steelhawks play inside the PPL Center are on sale now. Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks. For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news. Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100. The Steelhawks play all of their home games on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center.
Stay up to date with the Steelhawks by visiting the team website at www.LVSteelhawks.com or following them on Facebook: Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.