Heroes drop heartbreaker to Lions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. — It was a great comeback. But it wasn’t enough.

A slow start and some miscues spelled doom for the Huntington Heroes as their comeback fell short in a 57-54 shootout to the Columbus Lions Sunday afternoon in an American Indoor Football Association game.

Things didn’t start off well for the Heroes as Anthony Merritt returned the opening kickoff 54 yards for a touchdown to give Columbus a 6-0 lead.

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Huntington (6-7) responded quickly as Darnell Kennedy hit Octavius Day on a 30-yard touchdown strike to give the Heroes a 7-6 lead with 10:24 left in the opening period.

It would be the only time the Heroes would lead.

Columbus (9-4) then closed out the first half outscoring the Heroes 31-6 to take a commanding 37-13 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, Huntington began its comeback bid as Kennedy hit Charlie Rollins for a 19-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 37-20.

Huntington would match scores with Columbus for the rest of the third period.

The key play came at the end of the third quarter, when Conrad found Merritt for a 2-yard gain. Merritt then coughed up the football and the Heroes pounced on the loose ball.

The Heroes cashed in on the error as Kennedy hit Marcus Bryant for a 20-yard touchdown toss to cut the Lions lead to 50-40 early in the final period.

After forcing the Lions to turnover on downs, the Heroes again cashed in as Kennedy hit Day again for an 11-yard touchdown pass shrinking the Columbus lead to 3 with just 3:36 left in the game.

Columbus scored on a halfback pass from Merritt to Silas Daniels to give themselves a 10-point lead with 0:56 left.

Kennedy then hit Troy Perry for a 35 yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 3 again.

Columbus then ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Kennedy finished the game with 246 yards passing and seven touchdowns.

Day lead all receivers with 127 yards receiving on nine catches and two touchdowns.

Huntington travels to Canton this Saturday night in their season finale.



First Quarter

Co - Anthony Merritt 54 kickoff return (run failed) 12:14

Hu - Octavius Day 30 pass from Darnell Kennedy (Jason Cherry kick) 10:24

Co - Tirone Morris 15 pass from Joey Conrad (Gene Davis kick) 8:04

Co - Davis uno on kickoff 8:04

Co - Davis 20 field goal 4:01

Hu - Cherry 26 field goal 1:03

Second Quarter

Co - Merrit 19 pass from Conrad (kick failed) 13:40

Hu - Cherry 26 field goal 9:50

Co - Morris 53 kickoff return (Davis kick) 8:53

Co - Silas Daniels 6 pass from Conrad (Davis kick) 0:10

Third Quarter

Hu - Charlie Rollins 19 pass from Kennedy (Cherry kick) 13:36

Co - Daniels 3 run (kick failed) 9:41

Hu - Marcus Bryant 8 pass from Kennedy (Cherry kick) 6:24

Co - Morris 25 pass from Conrad (Davis kick) 4:52

Hu - Troy Perry 20 pass from Kennedy (Cherry kick) 1:32

Fourth Quarter

Hu - Bryant 20 pass from Kennedy (run failed) 13:54

Hu - Day 11 pass from Kennedy (Cherry kick) 3:36

Co - Daniels 5 pass from Merritt (Davis kick) 0:56

Hu - Perry 35 pass from Kennedy (Cherry kick) 0:43