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Manchester Wolves Upset Green Bay 55-54 to advance to af2 American Conference Championship

August 9, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Manchester Wolves News Release

GREEN BAY, WI- The Manchester Wolves engineered another dramatic late fourth quarter comeback in the arenafootball2 league playoffs to upset the Blizzard in Green Bay 55-54 in the second round and advance to the American Conference title game against the Tennessee Valley Vipers on Saturday, August 15th.

The fourth-seeded Vipers (12-6) earned the right to host the conference championship after they also scored the upset on Saturday night by beating the top-seeded Pioneers in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 34-30 with a come-from-behind win of their own.

With a brilliant performance by quarterback Brian Jones (24-36-194, 6 TDs, 1 INT), coming off the injured reserve list and making his first start since April 26th, the seventh-seeded Wolves offense marched up and down the field all night against the vaunted Green Bay defense. Still, the third-seeded Blizzard were able to match-up score for score in a game that went back and forth throughout and was tied 28-28 at the end of the first half, 41-41 at the completion of the third quarter, and 47-47 with a little over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Blizzard then drove the entire length of the field and went ahead 54-47 when Gino Guidugli (17-26-231, 4 TDs) scored from 1-yd. out on fourth down and kicker Bob Forstram converted the PAT with :46.8 left to play. But just as they had done the week before in their first round playoff upset of the second-seeded Wildcats in South Georgia, the Wolves came up with some late game heroics.

Jones, who stepped back in to the starting role after James Pinkney broke his leg in the come-from-behind win over the Wildcats, hit leading receiver Emery Sammons on a second-and-one from the Blizzard 17 for the score to make it 54-53 Green Bay with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. But rather than go for the tie with a PAT attempt, Manchester Head Coach Danton Barto made the very gutsy call to play for the win and called for the 2-pt.conversion play.

The throw by Jones t o wide-out Keith Stokes fell incomplete in the end zone and it seemed as though the Wolves season would come to an end, but the Green Bay defense was flagged for pass interference. Jones then made the most of the second try when he took the ball in himself to put two points on the board for the 55-54 go ahead score and insure that the Wolves would advance to the championship round.

The win was the Wolves second consecutive come-from-behind victory with under a minute to play in the 2008 playoffs and it put an exclamation point on their remarkable turnaround from a dismal 1-6 start this season. It also allowed the Wolves to avenge their earlier 72-31 loss in Green Bay, the most lopsided defeat in the history of the franchise, and gave Barto his 60th overall win in the af2.

Barto, in his first season with the Wolves, is only the fourth coach in the history of the af2 to reach the milestone of 60 wins.

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