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Nagy leads Destroyers to ArenaBowl XXI berth

Jul 14, 2007 - 9:22 PM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Matt Nagy threw for six touchdowns and ran for two others as the Columbus Destroyers overcame the loss of a late lead to claim a 66-56 victory over the Georgia Force in the National Conference Championship game on Saturday.

With the win, Columbus (9-9) advanced to the Arena Bowl for the first time.

The Destroyers, who also upset both Tampa Bay and Dallas on the road on their unlikely playoff run, will face either Chicago or San Jose for the championship on July 29.

Early on, the defense was strong for Columbus, which held Georgia without a score on its first three possessions. Defensive back Jerald Brown added to that stellar start with a 54-yard interception for a touchdown early in the second quarter for a 21-7 advantage.

Georgia (15-3), which had been unbeaten in its previous nine home games, answered back when Chris Greisen combined with Chris Jackson for a 23-yard scoring play.

However, the Force could not cut into their 35-21 deficit at the end of the first half as Carlo Martinez missed a 47-yard field goal.

Georgia rallied in the second half, grabbing a 49-48 lead on Greisen's four-yard TD pass to Derek Lee with 9:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Despite the loss of the lead, Columbus answered right back when B.J. Barre tossed a five-yard scoring pass to David Saunders just over two minutes later. The Destroyers' defense then held on downs before Nagy found Damien Groce for a 24-yard touchdown and 63-49 advantage with 2:42 remaining.

Nagy finished 23-of-34 for 209 yards and Groce had eight catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns for Columbus, which forced three turnovers in the win.

Greisen threw for 373 yards and eight TDs along with two interceptions for the Force.