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2006 Arenacup Playoff Semifinal Recap

August 14, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11

GREEN BAY BLIZZARD 67, Memphis Xplorers 50 (6,005)

GREEN BAY, Wisc. - The Green Bay Blizzard advanced to the American Conference Championship Game with a 67-50 victory over the defending ArenaCup Champion Memphis Xplorers Friday night at the Resch Center. Memphis got off to a quick start with a 13-yard pass from QB Brian Jones to OS Kevin Prentiss. The Blizzard answered right back with a 42-yard pass of their own from QB James MacPherson to OS Brent Holmes. Memphis retaliated with two unanswered scores, the first coming on a Prentiss 58-yard kickoff return and the second a 39-yard pass to WR/DB Adrian Burnette. The Blizzard scored once more in the quarter on WR/DB Dontrell Jackson's 4-yard run. K Dallas Pelz missed the point after. Memphis led after one period, 20-13. The second quarter began with two straight scores for Green Bay. The first was a 27-yard connection to Holmes followed by a 12-yard fumble recovery by WR/LB Robert Garth. Jones scored again for Memphis with a 1-yard run to tie the score at 27-27. The Blizzard fired right back with a 40-yard TD pass to WR/DB Gerald Harris. K Steven Azar closed out the half with a field goal to cut the Memphis deficit to four, 34-30. The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle. Green Bay struck first on a bruising 7-yard run by FB/LB Jeff Cogell. Jones again helped himself out by scoring on a 1-yard run, but Holmes quickly answered with a 58-yard kick return of his own. With 3:30 left in the third quarter FB/LB Joshua Rue scored on a 16-yard run, and the quarter ended with the Blizzard leading 47-43. The fourth quarter was where Green Bay pulled away as the Blizzard outscored Memphis 20-7 in the final frame. MacPherson (21-of-27 passing, 323 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 1 rush TD) and Holmes (10 catches, 161 yards, 2 TDs, KR TD) who earned Schutt Offensive Player of the Game honors, stood out offensively for Green Bay in the victory. Garth garnered ADT Defensive Player of the Game honors, while teammate Luke Leverson was named U.S. Army Ironman of the Game. Memphis veterans Jones (game-high 352 yards passing, 3 TDs, 2 rush TDs) and Prentiss (9 catches, 101 yards, 2 TDs, KR TD) led the Xplorers in defeat. Memphis finished the season at 12-6 overall.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12

FLORIDA FIRECATS 40, Manchester Wolves 39 (7,073)

ESTERO, Fla. - Florida's Brent Burnside intercepted Manchester QB Steve Bellisari to finalize a thrilling, 40-39, Firecats win over the Wolves Saturday night at Germain Arena. Florida led in the first quarter, but would not regain the advantage until there was just 38 seconds left to play. Trailing 39-33, QB Chris Wallace connected with WR/DB Brittney Tellis on a five-yard slant to tie the score. K Brandon Kornblue, who had troubles connecting on two prior extra point attempts, converted when it counted to give the Firecats a 40-39 lead. The game was tightly contested throughout, with neither team able to gain control thanks to solid defense on both sides. Neither team held a lead greater than seven at any point in the contest. Tied at 33-33 after three quarters of play, the defensive intensity picked up. With the ball in hand inside the five-yard line, Manchester fumbled away a scoring opportunity. Florida, however, gave the ball right back on downs. The Wolves then did the same, only to be followed up by Wallace throwing an interception to give the ball back to the Manchester. The Wolves capitalized on their next possession, a two-yard touchdown run by FB/LB Mark Kimener with 4:17 to play in the game. K Dylan Pohlman missed the extra point and the Wolves had a 39-33 lead, setting up the decisive finish. After Florida's go-ahead score, it looked as if Manchester would have no problem getting in field goal range when the Wolves brought the kickoff all the way out to the 25 yard line. On the very next play, however, Burnside snatched his second interception of Bellisari to seal the game. Wallace was 26-of-47 for 256 yards and four touchdowns for the Firecats. Bellasari finished 15-of-28 for 280 yards and five touchdowns for the Wolves. Both quarterbacks threw two interceptions. Burnside was the difference for Florida with his two interceptions on defense and six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on offense. The Wolves finished their season 10-8.

Arkansas Twisters 53, TULSA TALONS 51 (4,337)

TULSA, Okla. - The Arkansas Twisters continued their recent success against Tulsa and advanced to the National Conference Championship with a 53-51 victory on Saturday night at the Tulsa Convention Center. The game began with a strong showing by both teams along the defensive front. After each team had one scoreless possession, Talons K Luke Phillips began the scoring with an impressive 57-yard field goal. The Twisters answered with less than two minutes to go in the quarter when K David Carlton kicked a 29-yard field goal, finishing the quarter at 3-3. On Tulsa's first possession of the second quarter, QB Mark Radlinski found OS Ricky Ross in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown, giving the Talons the lead, 10-3. The Twisters tied the score when QB Walter Church hit WR/DB Kevin Williams for an 11-yard score to tie the score at 10-10. The Talons made quick work of the next possession on an 18-yard Radlinski to Cesare Manning connection. Schutt Offensive Player of the Game Robert Kilow knotted the score once again when he found pay dirt on an 11-yard pass from Church. The Twisters went ahead 24-17 at halftime on a 40-yard pass play to Williams. The game continued to be back-and-forth in the second half. After two more Kilow scores put Arkansas ahead by 10 (41-31) early in the fourth quarter, Jeff Hewitt responded for the Talons with a 58-yard kick return for a score. That cut the Twisters lead to just three, 41-38. Church hit Kilow once again for a 17-yard score, but Carlton missed the extra point. The Talons answered in just over a minute with an Andre Forde touchdown reception, making the score 47-45 Arkansas. The Twisters gained the lead once and for all on a 36-yard strike from Church to Williams. With three seconds left in the game, Radlinski tossed a 1-yard touchdown to Manning. That put Tulsa behind, 53-51, pending the two-point conversion. Tulsa's attempt failed, however, officially giving Arkansas the victory. Church (319 passing yards, 7 TDs), Kilow (11 catches, 160 yards, 4 TDs) and Williams (7 catches, 123 yards, 3 TDs) all excelled for Arkansas. The Talons finished the season with an 11-6 overall record and won the Midwest Division regular season title.

SPOKANE SHOCK 50, Bakersfield Blitz 47 (9,692)

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Shock made history Saturday night at Spokane Arena, defeating the Bakersfield Blitz in dramatic fashion, 50-47, to earn their first-ever playoff victory. With the win, the Shock advanced to the National Conference Championship. Things didn't look good, however, for Spokane after Bakersfield took a 33-19 lead with 10:32 to play in the third quarter. The Shock didn't panic, however, knowing there was still plenty of time left for a comeback. Three straight Spokane scores turned a 14-point deficit into a seven-point advantage with 7:35 to play in the game. The Blitz responded and tied the game at 40-40 on a 5-yard pass from Bobby Pesavento to Nathan Munson at the 4:32 mark. After Bakersfield tied the game, the Shock capitalized on a three-minute and 48-second drive with a 12-yard field goal by K Jon Koker to take a 43-40 lead. But the powerful offense of the Blitz, led by Pesavento, (25-of-40, 234 yards, 4 TDs) came right back and scored on an 11-yard pass play to DeRonn Finley with only 18 seconds remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, WR/LB Antwone Savage, who earned the Offensive Player of the Game, set the stage with a 20-yard return. On the first play of the drive, QB Kyle Rowley found Savage for a 10-yard completion and quickly called a timeout, using their last one. In the timeout, Rowley and Head Coach Chris Siegfried drew up another play for Savage that was incomplete. After the failed attempt Siegfried and Rowley decided to target another one of their weapons - WR/LB Charles Frederick. With the fate of their season in Rowley's hands, he found Frederick on a crossing route for a 20-yard touchdown that sealed another dramatic victory for the Shock. The ensuing kickoff brought the ball out to the 17-yard line and set up a 49-yard field goal attempt by Blitz K Jaret Johnson. With the game waning in the balance, Johnson's kick fell short, sealing the victory for the Shock. Bakersfield concluded its season at 10-8 overall.

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