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by Walter L. Johnson II
August 10, 2005 - arenafootball2 (af2)

Round one of the 2005 arenafootball2 playoffs has come and gone, as seven or fewer points decided three of the four games. The first round also provided two huge rallies from double-digit deficits down the stretch, as well as a stunning upset. So, what are we waiting for? Let's go!

AMERICAN CONFERENCE RECAP: The visiting Louisville Fire trailed the Macon (Ga.) Knights by 17 points on at least three occasions, the last time with less than four minutes. But a series of miscues on defense and special teams, as well as controversial on an onside kick, allowed the Fire to rally late, and eliminate the Knights from postseason play, 55-54 last Saturday. As a result of that come from behind win, the third seeded Fire will pay a visit to New Hampshire to face the second seeded Manchester Wolves in the American Conference semifinals Friday night.

In the other first round playoff game, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers earned a second round trip to Florida this Saturday against the defending Arena Cup champion Firecats thanks to a late touchdown in the closing seconds, giving them a 48-41 victory over the Green Bay Blizzard. A nine-yard touchdown run by Roy Olson with 43 seconds left in regulation proved to be the game-winner for the Pioneers.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE RECAP: While one sixth seeded squad blew a double-digit lead, and lost, the other sixth seed, the Amarillo Dusters, rallied from a 20-point deficit on the road, and upset the third seeded Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, 59-56. The Dusters scored the game's final 23 points to pull off the upset, and snap a four game losing streak in the process. With the win, the Dusters earned another road trip for this Saturday against the top seeded Memphis Xplorers. By the way, just 1,967 fans set foot inside the Cox Convention Center to witness the Amarillo comeback, by far the lowest attendance of any of the four first round contests.

The other first round National Conference playoff game provided the lone blowout of the postseason thus far, as the Rio Grande Valley Dorados routed the Quad City Steamwheelers 56-38 in front of 4,570 fans at the Dodge Arena. Dwight Counter led the way for RGV with six catches for 172 yards and four touchdowns. The Dorados will travel to Tulsa to take on the Talons in the other National Conference semifinal game.

QUICK PICKS:

Last Week: 2-2

Season-To-Date: 102-60 (.630)

Manchester over Louisville

Florida over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Memphis over Amarillo

Tulsa over Rio Grande Valley

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