Fire Defeats Xplorers 63-55
Louisville, KY - The Louisville Fire (7-5) hosted the Memphis Xplorers (9-4) in what played out as a re-match of last years ArenaCup championship between these two teams. The biggest difference from this game and the championship game last year was the lack of turnovers by the Fire and the increased number of penalties by the Xplorers squad. The Xplorers drew first blood with a 31-yard passing touchdown from QB Daniel Forrest to WR Terrance Quattlebaum. The Fire answered back quickly with a 30-yard pass from QB Brett Dietz to WR Rob Mager. Even though the offense was off the field the Fire were not finished scoring points. The Fire recovered a K Dave Hendrix kickoff in the end zone for a seven point lead over the Xplorers. The first quarter ended with an Xplorers 2-yard rushing touchdown to even up the game.
The second quarter was a shootout all the way down to the final seconds of the first half. Each team answered each other like clockwork driving the score up without anyone taking a true lead. This game defiantly felt like a post-season contest looking for a true champion. Xplorers Forrest threw two touchdown passes one to WR Kevin Prentiss and WR Kenny Higgins. The air assault by the Fire included two touchdown passes by Dietz to Dennis Fryzel and Mager. The final score by each team in the first half were rushing touchdowns by Xplorers Forrest and Fire Dietz with five seconds remaining.
The third quarter found both teams struggling to take the lead and put the game away. Each team was only able to muster up one score each as the "championship-feeling" game drudged on. Xplorers Forrest lobbed a 5-yard pass to WR Prentiss for the only Xplorer score and Fire FB/LB Scott Power burst his way to pay dirt for the Fire.
During the fourth quarter the picture was finally coming into focus as one team truly took control and ladies and gentlemen it was not a repeat of ArenaCup 2005. The Fire built on their running attack with a 3-yard run by Fryzel with Hendrix remaining perfect for the game connecting on another extra point. Nate Green continued the rushing trend later in the quarter with another 3-yard attempt giving the Fire a little breathing room as they looked to finally put the Xplorers away. With 2:08 left in the game, Xplorers Forrest connected again with WR Higgins to tighten up the score. The previous score by the Xplorers was fruitless as the Fire maintained a cushion between scores with another Dietz to WR Green for what seemed to close another chapter of this new formed rivalry. With the clock dwindling down to zero, the Xplorers scored once again with a Forrest to Prentiss touchdown but no time left for a comeback.
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