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af2 semifinal quick hitters

August 10, 2005 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

ARENACUP PLAYOFFS = CLOSE GAMES: For the third straight season, three of four First Round games were decided by one possession (eight points or less). This year Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won by seven points, Amarillo won by three and Louisville won by one. In 2004 Louisville won by five, Florida won by two and Cape Fear won by one point. In 2003 Arkansas won by eight, Macon won by seven and Mohegan won by three points.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: The Memphis Xplorers and Manchester Wolves will both be hosting their first home playoff games in franchise history this weekend. This will be Memphis' second playoff game in franchise history and Manchester's third. In contrast, Tulsa will be playing in their tenth post-season game. They have hosted eight of their previous nine games, including hosting and winning the 2003 ArenaCup. Florida will be playing in their tenth post-season game as well this weekend. Florida has hosted two previous postseason games, including the 2004 ArenaCup. Florida also played in the 2002 ArenaCup.

RETURN OF MCFADDEN: Last week Wilkes-Barre/Scranton WR/LB LEROY MCFADDEN proved you can go home again with his performance against the Green Bay Blizzard. McFadden, who was named to the All-af2 Second Team last season, didn't play a single game during the regular season for the Pioneers. But with the playoffs around the corner and J.R. THOMAS out for the playoffs McFadden returned to the Pioneers for the postseason. Last Saturday he rushed four times for four yards and one touchdown. McFadden also caught five passes for 47 yards. On defense he recorded a solo tackle and recovered a fumble in the endzone for the only score of the first quarter. His performance earned him U.S. Army Ironman of the Week honors. This week the Pioneers take on the Florida Firecats in the Semifinals.

RUSHIN' ROBINSON: Against the Quad City Steamwheelers last Sunday night Rio Grande Valley's CHRIS ROBINSON rushed seven times for 42 yards and one touchdown. His longest run from scrimmage was 29 yards. His 42 total yards were good enough to rank as the second most rushing yards by an individual player in a postseason game. CASEY URLACHER's 59 rushing yards against Bakersfield last season still stands as the top postseason rushing performance. Also, Robinson's 29-yard run is the second longest rush in af2 postseason history. In that same Bakersfield game, Urlacher had a 30-yard run to hold the top spot.

MAGIC MAGER: Louisville's ROB MAGER basically was the Fire's offense in their First Round game against Macon this past week. Mager caught 15 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns. His 15 receptions rank second all-time for receptions in a postseason game and were half of Louisville's 30 completed passes on the night. He caught three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Fire fought back from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit. His performance earned him Offensive Player of the Week honors.

CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL: While ROB MAGER did it with the short pass, DWIGHT COUNTER didn't take any chances against Quad City on Sunday. Instead he went with the long ball. He caught six passes for 172 yards and four touchdowns. His 172 receiving yards are a record for receiving yards in a postseason game. He broke the record of 167 set by Mager the night before. Counter's touchdown catches came on passes of 25, 40, 43 and 45 yards in length. He averaged 28.7 yards per reception against Quad City.

BURNS' NUMBER IS 58: The longest kick return possible in Arena Football is 58 yards. The kick returner catches the ball at the back of the eight-yard endzone and returns it the entire length of the 50-yard field for a touchdown. Many players have accomplished this feat during the regular season but TRAVIS BURNS was the first to do it in the postseason on Sunday. His kickoff return for a touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first half this past week is in the records book as the longest kick return in postseason history as he became the first player in af2 history to return a kickoff 58 yards in a postseason game.

POSSIBLE REVENGE ON TAP FOR SEMIFINALS: They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but four teams would like to serve it in the Conference Semifinals as all four Conference Semifinal games have some element of revenge in them.

For Rio Grande Valley, they will look to get revenge over the Tulsa Talons who edged them out for the West Division Championship. After beating Tulsa 65-64 in Week 11, the Dorados were in control for the Division Championship. All they had to do was keep winning. But in Week 16 Tulsa hosted the Dorados in a game which would have all but clinched the division for the Dorados if they had won. But a 58-49 Tulsa victory spurred the Talons on to the division championship and left the Dorados to play this past week. Now Rio Grande Valley returns to Tulsa for the ultimate revenge. A win for the Dorados would give them a trip to the National Conference Championship Game.

For Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, their last loss was a 47-48 overtime defeat at Florida in Week 16. Since then the Pioneers have won three straight games, including a 48-41 victory over Green Bay in the First Round last week. But the Pioneers have more than just a close regular season loss to avenge. More importantly, almost one year ago Florida went up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the American Conference Championship game and defeated the Pioneers 31-41 to advance and win the 2004 ArenaCup. As it turned out, if the Pioneers had won they would have hosted the ArenaCup. A win by the Pioneers this season would give them another chance to advance to the ArenaCup.

For Amarillo, just winning a playoff game in their expansion season is quite a feat. But now they face the Memphis Xplorers, a team who defeated them twice during the regular season. But what really must stick in the minds of the Dusters is the first loss, a 41-66 defeat at home in Week 2. Memphis' KEVIN PRENTISS came into the Dusters' arena and tied an af2 record by scoring eight touchdowns. Prentiss grabbed nine passes for 186 yards and six touchdowns and then returned three kickoffs for 131 yards and two touchdowns. In their next meeting the Dusters limited Prentiss to just three touchdowns. Needless to say, a win by Amarillo this week would erase Prentiss' domination of the Dusters during the regular season.

For Louisville, they lost out to Manchester for the division title race despite winning their final five games of the season and making a run at the division title. Louisville is still looking for their first division title in franchise history. Manchester could have a revenge motive as well because in that span of five victories was a 78-61 victory over the Wolves in Louisville. Manchester could have won the division with a victory that night. Instead Louisville came out and dominated the Wolves. Now one team will earn their revenge and move on to the American Conference Championship Game.

WHEN AN UNSUCCESSFUL ONSIDE KICK IS SUCCESSFUL: Arena Football features more onside kicks than normal 100-yard outdoor football. One of the reasons for this is even if the kicking team doesn't recover a kick, often the receiving team is left with a short field, and in Arena Football it gets increasingly difficult to score as you get closer to the goalline. There is no question that the key play in the Louisville-Macon game this past week was Louisville recovering an onside kick with 38 seconds left in the contest to set up the game winning score. But what might get overlooked is Louisville's onside kick minutes earlier. After cutting a 17-point lead to ten, Louisville attempted an onside kick with just over three minutes remaining on the contest. Macon recovered the kick but started their drive at the Louisville five yard line. The Fire defense stiffened, and Macon was forced to add only three points on a field goal. Not only did the onside kick give the Knights a smaller field to work with, it also helped conserve time for Louisville as it took less time off the clock than if they had to drive the length of the field.

BAREFIELD RESIGNS: Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings' head coach KEITH BAREFIELD resigned earlier this week. He coached the Battle Wings for two seasons recording a 8-24 record. As soon as Barefield wraps up his end of season duties, he will rejoin the Edmonton Eskimos organization of the Canadian Football League as a regional scout. Barefield has also been named head coach of the East All-Stars in Max Emfinger's All-American Bowl slated for January 2006.

BOBBY HUMPHREY WON'T RETURN: Birmingham head coach BOBBY HUMPHREY will not return a seventh season, the Steeldogs organization announced earlier today. Humphrey was the first af2 coach to reach 50 career victories and will finish with 51 career victories and a 2-3 record in the postseason. In 2002 the Steeldogs advanced to the National Conference Championship Game before falling to eventual champion Peoria.

MEMPHIS, THE PEOPLE'S CHAMP: For the two weeks prior to the start of the 2005 ArenaCup Playoffs af2.com featured a contest to see who could pick the participants and winner of the 2005 ArenaCup. Below are the results for which team fans selected to win ArenaCup. Teams still alive for the playoffs are in bold. Memphis garnered almost ¼ of the total votes with defending champion Florida ranking second with 15.7% of the votes.

TEAM %
1 Memphis 24.0%
2 Florida 15.7%
3 Manchester 11.5%
4 Tulsa 11.1%
5 Louisville 9.7%
6 Quad City 6.9%
7 Oklahoma City 5.5%
8 Rio Grande Valley 4.1%
9 Macon 3.7%
10 Amarillo 3.2%
T-11 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2.3%
T-11 Green Bay 2.3%

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arenafootball2 Stories from August 10, 2005


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