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      Second to None: Albany Returns to Title Game

      Entering Saturday night's PIFL semifinal, the expectations were there for another tight game between Albany and Columbus. Instead, the Panthers added another winning chapter to the Columbus rivalry.

      Led by the backup quarterback-wide receiver connection of Darnell Kennedy to Antwone Savage, Albany sealed a second straight trip to the league championship with a 60-36 win over Columbus.

      Starting quarterback Cecil Lester had been listed as a gametime decision throughout the week. Lester walked out in street clothes for the coin toss, but Kennedy, playing in his third game for Albany this season, couldn't have performed better

      Kennedy and Savage lit up the scoreboard connecting for three touchdowns in the first half. The Panthers walked in to the locker room with a 38-23 advantage after five touchdowns in the first 30 minutes.

      Fullback Derrick Wimbush rumbled from 25 yards out and receiver Clenton Rafe added a touchdown reception for the other two Panthers first half scores.

      In the third quarter, Columbus chipped the deficit down to eight points at 44-36, but that was as close as the Lions would get all night.

      The Panthers will host a championship game at the Albany Civic Center for the second straight year. The winner of Richmond and Louisiana on Monday night will travel to Phoebe Field for the title game next Saturday.

      Albany takes the season series from the Lions 3-1 winning by an average of 20.5 points in their two home victories.