Lions enjoy homefield advantage in SIFL semifinals

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus Lions find themselves just two wins away from their second straight SIFL championship. But to get to the finals, they're going to have go thru a familiar foe on Saturday night, when they face arch-rival Albany for the fourth time this season, and for the second time on their home turf.

The Lions (12-1) like to call the civic center the Jungle. With nearly 4-thousand tickets already sold for their showdown with the Panthers (11-2), it really WILL be a Jungle out there.

And the Lions are loving it.

"They complain about how loud it was last time we played them here," said running back Anthony Merritt, "so we're expecting an even better turnout and the crowd to be even louder this time."

Head coach Jason Gibson agreed. "It's going to be loud. The band will be back, which all the players want to make sure, so the band will be here. We had a playoff game last week with 18-hundred and that was loud, so double that."

"It's awesome," quarterback Chris McCoy said. "We're getting some great support. We have a great fan base and that's what makes it a lot of fun. We get to interact with the crowd a lot and it makes it like a family event so we're really happy about that."

The Lions and Panthers tee it up Saturday night at 7:30 pm ET at the Columbus Civic Center. The winner advances to the SIFL Championship, where they'll play the winner of the game between the Houston Stallions (13-0) and the Louisiana Swashbucklers (9-4), the team the Lions beat last year to win the SIFL title.