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Memphis Xplorers game notes

May 4, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Memphis Xplorers News Release

Manchester Wolves (2-2)
at Memphis Xplorers (4-1)
Date: Saturday, May 6, 2006
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. CDT
Site: DeSoto Civic Center (8,400)
National Anthem:
Coin Toss:
Referee: Todd Dunaway
Umpire: Tyrone Blanks
Head Linesman: Lark Jones
Line Judge: Mark Bailey
Back Judge: Brad Freeman
Radio: 730 ESPN, Jim Erickson
TV: None
Series Record: Xplorers lead 2-0
Last Meeting: 83-26 MEM 7/16/05 @ MEM
Streaks: Xplorers- 1 win
Wolves- 1 loss
Danton Barto (38-31; 3-1 playoffs, 5th Season)
Ben Bennet (14-6; 0-1 playoffs, 2nd Season w/Man.)
(33-19; 4-2 playoffs, 4th season in af2)

THE STAKES: The Xplorers are trying to make it back to back 5-1 starts after their 62-26 win last week over Macon. The Wolves fell to the top ranked Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers 62-47 last week to fall back to .500 at 2-2.

THE SERIES: This will be the third all-time meeting between these clubs with the Xplorers holding a 2-0 advantage. Last season, Memphis scored a franchise record 83 points in an 83-26 win on July 16 at the DCC.

If Memphis defeats Macon, it would ...
- Give Memphis their 11th win in their last 12 games dating back to last season's playoffs and regular season.
- Give Memphis a 3-0 all-time record versus Manchester
- Give Memphis a 5-1 season record and keep them in first place in the South Division.
- Give Memphis their 8th straight home win, including playoffs.
- Give Memphis a 22-22 all-time record at home
MEMPHIS (4-1, WON 1)
Date Opponent CT W/L Score
Sat, 4/1 @ Tenn Valley 7:30 W 47-25
Sat, 4/8 Florida 7:00 W 78-46
Sat, 4/15 Tenn Valley 7:00 W 56-21
Sat, 4/22 @ Florida 6:30 L 60-55
Fri, 4/28 Macon 7:00 W 62-26
Sat, 5/6 Manchester 7:00
Sat, 5/13 @ South Georgia 6:30
Sat, 5/20 Bossier-Shreveport 7:00
Sun, 5/28 @ Amarillo 3:00
Sat, 6/3 @ Stockton 9:00
Sat, 6/17 Birmingham 7:00
Sat, 6/24 South Georgia 7:00
Fri, 6/30 @ Macon 6:30
Sat, 7/8 @ Louisville 6:00
Sat, 7/15 Amarillo 7:00
Sat, 7/22 @ Birmingham 7:00

Date Opponent ET W/L Score
Fri, 4/7 Green Bay L 48-34
Fri, 4/14 @ Louisville W 39-34
Sat, 4/22 Albany W 59-45
Sat, 4/29 WB/Scranton L 62-47
Sat, 5/6 @ Memphis 8:00
Sat, 5/13 @ Albany 7:00
Sat, 5/20 Florida 7:30
Sat, 5/27 @ WB/Scranton 7:00
Sat, 6/3 Tulsa 7:30
Sat, 6/10 @ Quad City 8:15
Sat, 6/17 @ Tulsa 8:00
Fri, 6/23 Louisville 7:30
Fri, 7/7 @ Green Bay 8:30
Fri, 7/14 WB/Scranton 7:30
Sat, 7/22 @ Albany 7:00
Fri, 7/28 Quad City 7:30

Danton Barto-Memphis
Barto is entering his fifth season as the Head Coach of the Memphis Xplorers. His career regular season record stands at 38-31 and 3-1 in the postseason. He is the winningest coach in af2 over the last two seasons. In each of the four seasons under Barto, the Xplorers have improved on the previous season's win total. Last season, he was named the af2 Coach of the Year as he led the Xplorers to their best season in franchise history; a 13-3 regular season mark, a Midwest Division title and the 2005 ArenaCup Championship. In 2004, Memphis won ten games and earned their first trip to the playoffs, before falling to the eventual champion Florida Firecats on a last second field goal miss. Barto was promoted from defensive coordinater to the head coach position prior to the 2002 season and won his first three games in what turned out to be a 5-11 season. Coach Barto is still considered a University of Memphis legend; he currently is the only player to be named to the All-American team three different years. He is still ranked number one in career tackles for the University of Memphis with 473. Coach Barto also enjoyed a 5-year professional career in the CFL and AFL leagues. Coach Barto currently resides with his wife Rachel and their 7-year-old son Will in Bartlett, Tennessee.

Ben Bennett-Manchester
Bennett transformed the Wolves from a 5-11 squad in 2004 into an East Division champion in just one season. In 2005, Bennett guided the Wolves to a franchise-best 12-win season, finishing 12-5 overall. The team's Cinderella season also included a 10-game win streak and a trip to the second round of the af2 playoffs. His Arena Football experience includes five ArenaBowl appearances as a quarterback, two ArenaCup appearances as a head coach, and numerous awards and league records garnered throughout his career. Before coming to Manchester, he spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons building the Florida Firecats into a league powerhouse. He took the team to two straight ArenaCups, winning the title in 2004. In three seasons as a head coach in the af2, Bennett has compiled an impressive overall record of 36-18 (including playoffs). His win total is the third highest among active coaches and tenth best all-time. Bennett's coaching resume also includes stints with the Florida Bobcats (AFL, 2001), the Greensboro (NC) Prowlers (af2, 2000), and the Milwaukee (WI) Mustangs (AFL, 1998). Ben Bennett, the player, was a perennial Arena Football League MVP who was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2000. His NFL highlight was being part of the 1988 Central Division Champion Chicago Bears. Bennett was the first and some argue the best quarterback to run the "Fun & Gun" offense designed by Steve Spurrier, who was then the offensive coordinator at Duke University. He racked up seven NCAA, 15 ACC, and 42 school records at Duke. Bennett left the school in 1984 as the NCAA All-Time Leader in three passing categories.

The Xplorers clinched their first ever division crown with the win last July that set a franchise record for points scored. It was also the second largest margin of victory (57 pts) for the Xplorers in their history. OS Kevin Prentiss had 7 catches for 103 yards and 4 touchdowns while DL Khreem Smith added two sacks. WR/DB Terrell Adams scored 4 times, two through the air and two on the ground. Memphis scored at least 20 points in each of the 4 quarters. The Wolves came into the game ranked #1 in that week's af2 coaches' poll.
The Xplorers scored a defensive touchdown and two special team's touchdowns in winning their seventh straight home game. Terrell Adams returned after missing the previous week and had 8 catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. Adams also led the team with 7.5 tackles. The Xplorers' defense set the tone early as DB Remuise Johnson intercepted a Chad Elliott pass and returned it 23 yards for a score 2:30 into the game. The Knights, though, would score the next two touchdowns to make it 13-7 at the end of the first quarter. That would be last time they would hold the lead. Memphis outscored Macon 21-0 in the second quarter to open up a 28-13 advantage at the half. The second quarter included a Phillip Perry blocked field goal that he recovered and ran into the end zone and an Xplorers goal line stand on the last play before halftime. The Xplorers scored on the opening drive of the second half and did not look back as they outscored the Knights 34-13 in the half. Greg Golden scored his first af2 touchdown in his Xplorers debut; Joseph Crear returned an onside kick for a score; Kenny Higgins made an electric diving catch on fourth down for a 30 yard touchdown and back-up quarterback Stan Hill scored his first af2 touchdown on a one yard run to close out the scoring. Memphis QB Brian Jones was 19 of 29 for 265 yards and four touchdowns while the Knights' Chad Elliott was 22 of 41 for 244 yards and three scores.

The Xplorers have scored an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown in each of the last two games and in three of their last 4 games. They also scored in all three ways in the Week 2 win over Florida.

This week's game versus Manchester is the first game against a team outside of the South Division this season for the Xplorers. Memphis returns to divisional play next week at South Georgia.

Last week's win over Macon improved the Xplorers all-time regular season record in Friday games to 8-1. The team's lone loss on a Friday came last season on 6/24/05 at Oklahoma City (50-47).

Joseph Crear's 6 yard on-side kick return for a touchdown was his second kick return for a touchdown in his career. He also returned one 8 yards for a score against Central Valley last season.

Through 5 weeks of play, the Xplorers are second in the league in points scored and points given up per game. The offense is scoring 59.6 pts/game while the defense is allowing 35.6 pts/game. Last season, Memphis had the top scoring defense (37.6 pts/gm) and was tied with Amarillo for the top scoring offense (55.8 pts/gm).

OS Kenny Higgins leads all af2 receivers with 590 receiving yards.

Second year OL/DL Phillip Perry was placed on Long-Term IR this week after undergoing successful surgery to repair a rupture to his Achilles tendon that he suffered in Friday's win over Macon.

The Xplorers are playing 5 of their first 8 games at home and 5 of their last eight, including 3 of the last 4, on the road.

The Xplorers 4-1 record in April marked the second straight season that the team went 4-1 in April. The team's all-time record in the month is now 14-11. It is the only month that the Xplorers have an all-time regular season record above .500. They are 9-11 all-time in May; 11-11 in June and 7-11 in July.

Coach Barto is the winningest coach in af2 over the last two-plus seasons at 27-10 in the regular season.

WR/DB Brett Fischer, who was with the Xplorers in training camp, was signed to a one year free agent contract by the Detroit Lions (NFL) on April 19. The six-foot, 195 pound Fischer was assigned to Memphis in late February after attending the Kansas City Chiefs' training camp in 2005. The Chiefs signed him as an undrafted free-agent. In college at Division II Missouri-Rolla, he finished with 155 receptions, 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns. During his senior season in 2004, he set school marks for receptions for a season (72), single season receiving yards (1,040) and career receiving yards.

(2-0 / 1-0 Home / 1-0 Away)
6/18/04 55-54 W @ Manchester
7/16/05 83-26 W @ Memphis

LEAGUE TOP 10s: Players from this week's match-up who rank among af2's statistical leaders:
Player Rank Category Stat
Brian Jones 3 Total Offense 284.6/gm
Brian Jones 2 Total Off. TDs 35
Steven Azar 1-t Scoring (Kick) 34 pts
Kenny Higgings 8 All Purpose Yd 590
Brian Jones 3 Rushing TDs 7
Brian Jones 3 Rushing Yds 77
Brian Jones 4 Pass Yds 1346
Brian Jones 4 PassYards/Comp 13.5
Brian Jones 6 Completion % 67.1
Brian Jones 3-t Passing TDs 28
Brian Jones 3 Passer Rating 129.6
Brian Jones 3 Pass Yds/Att 9.0
Kenny Higgins 6 Pass Rec. 34
Kenny Higgins 8 Yards/Catch 17.4
Kenny Higgins 1 Rec. Yards 590
Kenny Higgins 9-t Rec. TDs 9
Steven Azar 1 PAT ATT 41
Steven Azar 6 PAT % 82.9
Steven Azar 1 PAT Made 34
Terrell Adams 5 MFG Ret Yds 55
T. Quattlebaum 7 MFG Ret Yds 48
T. Quattlebaum 1-t MFG Ret TDs 1
Joseph Crear 6-t Sacks 3
Chris Eggleston 4 Sacks 4
Deon Giddens 1 Total Tackles 35.5

Player Rank Category Stat
S. Gonzalez 1st Scoring 80
S. Gonzalez 2nd All-purp yards 693
S. Gonzalez T-1st Scoring TDs 13
M. Kimener 10th Rushing TDs 3
D. Bryant 8th Passing rating 120.3
K. Rowley T-9th Interceptions 4
S. Gonzalez 3rd Receptions 37
S. Gonzalez 9th Receiving yards 407
S. Gonzalez 6th Rec yds/game 101.8
S. Gonzalez 1st Receiving TDs 12
A. Sebastien T-3rd Interceptions 3
S. Gonzalez 6th Kick ret. yards 290
S. Gonzalez T-2nd Kick return TDs 1
W. Haith 7th Tackles 26.5
Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 2 59.6 14 44.8
Scoring Defense 2 35.6 13 47.2
Total Offense 3 300.6 18 239.2
Total Defense 13 264.8 8 245.5
Pass Offense 3 275.8 17 224.8
Pass Defense 11 234.6 6 221.8
Rushing Offense 6 24.8 T-15 14.5
Rushing Defense 21 30.2 17 23.8
Offensive TDs 3-t 36 15 27
Scoring (Kicking) T-1 34 23 13
Pass Rating 2 126.6 10 103.5
Pass Def. Rating 4 83.5 7 86.6
Kickoff Return Ave 11 18.6 15 16.7
MFG Returns 3 26.8 T-18 0.0
Turnover Margin 8-t +2 13 Even
Field Goals Made 18-t 0 T-18 .000
PAT Kicking 5 .829 23 .591
Sacks By 5-t 9 T-13 4
Sacks Against 9 5 1 0
First Downs 4 95 9 77
Opp. First Downs 19 86 T-2 67
Most Penalties 3 71.8 23 36.5

Pos. Name Injury Status
OL/DL Phillip Perry Achilles On LTIR

Score Allow
0-9 Points 0-0 0-0
10-19 Points 0-0 0-0
20-29 Points 0-0 3-0
40-49 Points 1-0 1-0
50-59 Points 1-1 0-0
60-69 Points 1-0 0-1
70-79 Points 1-0 0-0
80-89 Points 0-0 0-0
90+ Points 0-0 0-0
One Point Games 0-0
2-7 Points Games 0-1
8-13 Point Games 0-0
14-20 Point Games 1-0
21-27 Point Games 0-0
28+ Point Games 3-0
Score First 3-1
Opponent Scores First 1-0
After a win 2-1
After a loss 1-0
Before a bye week 0-0
After a bye week 0-0
In Overtime 0-0
Out pass opponent 3-0
Out rush opponent 1-1
Opponent out pass 1-1
Opponent out rush 3-0
Even rush 0-0
More total offense 4-0
Less total offense 0-1
Lead after 1st qtr 1-1
Trail after 1st qtr 2-0
Tied after 1st qtr 1-0
Lead at Half 4-1
Trail at Half 0-0
Tied at Half 0-0
Lead after 3rd qtr 4-1
Trail after 3rd qtr 0-0
Tied after 3rd qtr 0-0
April 4-1
Home 3-0
Away 1-1
Overall 41-44
Home 21-22
Away 20-22
April 14-11
May 9-11
June 11-11
July 7-11
Danton Barto on "The Danton Barto Show"

On the play of young guys like Remuise Johnson, Greg Golden and Daryon Brutley in last week's win over Macon...

"I thought those guys really came to play. We already had a very young lineup and we got even younger with those guys in there, but they did well and contributed to the win."

On losing Phillip Perry to what might be a season ending Achilles tendon injury in the second half...

"It's a big loss for us because we were already short on lineman. But more than that, Phillip is a great person and a great leader. The younger guys really look up to him."

On last season's 83-26 win over Manchester...

"That was probably our best all-around game last season. I know that Manchester will come in here ready to get some revenge."

(selected by media)
Week Opp. Player
1 @ Tenn Val QB Brian Jones
2 vs Florida QB Brian Jones
3 vs Tenn Val QB Brian Jones
5 vs Macon WR/DB Terrell Adams

(selected by media)
Week Opp. Player
2 vs Florida WR/DB Terrance Quattlebaum
3 vs Ten Val WR/DB Terrell Adams
4 @ Florida WR/DB Terrance Quattlebaum

(selected by media)
Week Opp. Player
1 @ Tenn Val DS Deon Giddens
2 vs Florida OL/DL Chris Eggleston
3 vs Tenn Val OL/DL Joseph Crear
4 @ Florida OL/DL Chris Eggleston
5 vs Macon OL/DL Phillip Perry

RECENT ROSTER MOVES (most recent first):
Date Action Player

5/4 Placed on LTIR OL/DL Phillip Perry
4/13 Assigned FB/LB Jermaine Beale
4/11 Re-assigned DL David Bamiro
4/4 Re-assigned FB/LB Chris Peavy
3/29 Assigned WR/DB Terrell Adams
3/29 Activated from OLE OS Kenny Higgins

FORWARD MOTION: Next week, the Xplorers return to divisional play when they travel to South Georgia to face the Wildcats. The 'Cats are in their second season in Albany, Georgia after playing their first 3 seasons in af2 in Fayetteville, North Carolina as the Cape Fear Wildcats. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the Wildcats moved to South Georgia. The Xplorers are 0-2 all-time versus the Wildcats franchise.

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