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Columbus football team has local presence

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Maurice Swain and Joe Sanders, who years ago were making tackles at Callaway Stadium as local prep standouts, made their season debut for the Columbus Lions last weekend.

In a National Arena League game, Columbus lost a 65-60 shootout to the home-standing Albany (N.Y.) Empire.

Arena League games typically feature plenty of offense, and Saturday’s game in New York was no exception.

The teams combined for 18 touchdowns, with five of them coming during a wild fourth quarter where Columbus outscored Albany 28-21.

Swain and Sanders are defensive linemen for Columbus, and they each made an impact during Saturday’s game.

Swain, a Troup High graduate who played for the Auburn Tigers for two seasons, had three tackles.

Sanders, a LaGrange High graduate who played collegiately at Highland Community College (Kansas) and Northern Illinois, had one tackle for loss, and he also had a quarterback hurry.

It was the first of eight regular-season games for Columbus, which will make its home debut against the Orlando Predators on Friday at 7 p.m.

Sanders, who graduated from LaGrange High in 2013 after helping lead the Grangers to the second round of the state playoffs in 2012, began his collegiate career at Highland Community College in Kansas.

As a sophomore, Sanders had 72 tackles including nine for loss, and he was an honorable-mention selection on the NJCAA All-American team.

Sanders transferred to Northern Illinois where he played for two seasons after taking a red-shirt year, and he had a combined 36 tackles in 2016 and 2017.

Swain, who like Sanders graduated from high school in 2013, played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before transferring to Auburn where he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Swain, who was a defensive tackle at Auburn, had eight tackles in 2015, and 14 tackles in 2016.

In 2017, Swain was with the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs, although he didn’t appear in a regular-season game.

Swain has been an assistant football coach at Lone Cane Middle School the past few seasons.