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Memphis Xplorers game notes

June 15, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Memphis Xplorers News Release

Birmingham Steeldogs (5-5)
at Memphis Xplorers (8-2)
Date: Saturday, June 17, 2006
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. CDT
Site: DeSoto Civic Center (8,400)
National Anthem:
Coin Toss:
Referee: Todd Dunaway
Umpire: Mark Baynes
Head Linesman: Lark Jones
Line Judge: Chris Jamison
Back Judge: Brad Freeman
Radio: 730 ESPN, Jim Erickson
TV: None
Series Record: 2-3
Last Meeting: 62-32 MEM @ MEM, 6/18/05
Streaks: Xplorers- 3 wins
Steeldogs- 1 win
Danton Barto (42-32 reg season; 3-1 playoffs, 5th Season)
Ron Selesky (24-18 reg season; 1-1 playoffs, 3rd season,
1st w/Birmingham)

THE STAKES: The Xplorers return after the bye week to face the Steeldogs in this South Division match-up. The Xplorers maintain a half game lead in the South Division entering this week's games, while the Steeldogs are in third place; 3 games back of the Xplorers.

THE SERIES: This is the 6th all-time meeting with the Steeldogs holding a 3-2 all-time advantage. The Xplorers won both meetings last season; 60-24 at Birmingham and 62-32 at Memphis.

If Memphis defeats Birmingham, it would ...
- Give Memphis its 15th win in their last 17 games.
- Give Memphis its 10th straight home victory, including the 2005 playoffs
- Keep Memphis with the best record in the league
- Keep Memphis in first place in the South Division.
- Give Memphis a 5-4 all-time record coming out of a bye week

MEMPHIS (8-2, WON 3)
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 W 58-52 OT
Sat, 5/13 @ South Georgia 6:30 L 48-41
Sat, 5/20 BOS-SHREVEPORT 7:00 W 67-32
Sun, 5/28 @ Amarillo 3:00 W 34-27
Sat, 6/3 @ Stockton 9:00 W 73-54
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 CDT Result Score
4/8 EVERETT 7:00 W 41-36
4/14 RIO GRANDE 7:00 L 43-44
4/21 @ Louisville 6:30 L 40-62
4/29 @ South Georgia 6:30 W 40-34
5/5 LOUISVILLE 7:00 W 63-60
5/13 @ Florida 6:30 L 44-62
5/20 @ Tennessee Valley 7:30 L 17-21
5/27 MACON 7:00 W 71-30
6/3 @ Everett 9:30 L 34-40
6/10 SOUTH GEORGIA 7:00 W 42-35
6/24 FLORIDA 7:00
7/8 @ Rio Grande 7:00
7/15 @ Macon 7:00
7/22 MEMPHIS 7:00
6/24 FLORIDA 7:00

Danton Barto-Memphis
Barto is entering his fifth season as the Head Coach of the Memphis Xplorers. His career regular season record stands at 42-32 and 3-1 in the postseason. He is the winningest active coach in af2 since the start of the 2003 season. 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.

Ron Selesky-Birmingham
Selesky is an Arena Football League and af2 coaching veteran. He served as the defensive coordinator for the Columbus Destroyers in 2005 under Head Coach Chris Spielman. Prior to that, Selesky spent the 2004 season on the sidelines for the Carolina Cobras, beginning the year as the team's defensive coordinator before finishing the season as the head coach. Selesky earned af2 Coach of the Year honors in 2002, guiding the expansion Albany Conquest to a regular-season mark of 13-3 and a Northeast Division title. He spent the 2001 season as the head coach of the Louisville Fire. Selesky spent the 2003 season as head coach and director of football operations for the Buffalo Destroyers, prior to the team relocating to Columbus, Ohio. He also served as the director of player personnel and assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Storm from 1997 to 1999. With the Storm, his teams compiled a 31-11 regular season record and earned a berth in the 1998 ArenaBowl. Born in Brunswick, N.J., Selesky played college football at North Central College (Division III) in Naperville, Ill., where he was a four-year starter at left offensive tackle. Following his collegiate career, Selesky went on to play for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in 1987 and attended NFL camps with the San Diego Chargers (1988), Miami Dolphins (1990) and Detroit Lions (1992). He also spent time as a scout with ProQuest Management from 1995-1997.

62-32 MEM @ MEM, 6/18/05
The Xplorers had the most dominant first half in franchise history and improved the team's record to 10-1 with the win. Memphis held a 49-0 halftime lead after scoring 35 points in the second quarter alone. OS Kevin Prentiss caught 3 scoring passes with Deon Giddens scored twice, one through the air and one on the ground. QB Brian Jones threw 4 TD passes and ran for 2 more. DS Dahnel Singfield had two of the team's 4 INT. The Steeldogs outscored the Xplorers 32-13 in the 2nd half.

The Xplorers continued their West Coast success and improved to 8-2 on the season with the win. The Xplorers are now 3-0 all-time in games played on the West Coast. Schutt Offensive Player of the Game QB Brian Jones was extremely efficient as he completed 19 of 21 passes for 240 yards and six touchdowns. He also added a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Offensive Specialist Kevin Prentiss, in his third game since returning to the Xplorers, had a break-out game with 10 catches for 128 yards and two scores. WR Kenny Higgins also picked up a pair of touchdown receptions with Terrell Adams and Terrance Quattlebaum each catching one. FB/LB Joshua Rue scored his first and second career af2 touchdowns on the ground as Memphis won the first ever meeting between the teams. Memphis Defensive Specialist Deon Giddens picked off a pair of Josh Blankenship passes and was named ADT Defensive Player of the Game. The Xplorers built a 33-20 halftime lead and built that to a 20 point, 54-34 lead entering the fourth quarter. The win was the third straight for Memphis and their second in a row on the road.

The 73-54 win in Week 10 over Stockton, gave the Xplorers a 3-3 all-time record entering a bye week. The team's all-time record coming out of the bye is 4-4.

The Xplorers' win over Stockton and Spokane's loss at Louisville last week, ties the Xplorers with the Shock for the league's top record at 8-2.

Here is where OS Kevin Prentiss ranks in af2 career receiving and scoring categories: Points-5th (660); Overall TD-5th (110); Receptions- 12th (276); TD Receptions- 8th (96); Receiving Yards- 9th (4231); Kickoff Return Yards-3rd (3232); Kickoff Return TD-1st (13).

The Xplorers' win at Stockton on 6/3, improved the franchise's all-time record in games in California or on the West Coast to 3-0. Along with this season's win at Stockton, Memphis won 72-51 at Bakersfield in 2004 and 69-57 at Central Valley last season.

The win at Stockton also improved the Xplorers franchise's all-time regular season record to the .500 mark at 45-45. After going a combined 14-34 in their first 3 seasons, the Xplorers have gone 31-11 since the start of the 2004 season to get to .500. The franchise has never been .500 or better since its inception.

When it comes to the Xplorers' offense, it is quality over quantity. Despite the fact that the team is last in the league in total number of offensive plays (37.2 per game), the Xplorers are fourth in total offense (290.4 yds/game), third in scoring offense (57.1 pts/game) and first in yards per play (7.8).

Quarterback Brian Jones' 90.5% completion percentage (19 for 21) in the win over Stockton, is his highest career completion rate in a game with at least 11 attempts. Jones' season completion rate of 67.4% is second in af2.

WR Kenny Higgins surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in the win over Stockton. His current total of 1008 yards is third in the league. He is the fourth Xplorer to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season, joining Kevin Prentiss ('04 & '05); Terrell Adams ('03); and Carlos McNeary ('02).

OS Kevin Prentiss had his 5th career double digit receiving game versus Stockton on 6/3. Prentiss had 10 receptions for 128 yards and 2 TD. It was also Prentiss' 20th career 100-yard receiving game. Prentiss' career single game highs are 13 receptions (4/19/03) and 227 yards (6/26/04).

In their 10 games, the Xplorers have led at halftime in 9 of them. The team has also led entering the 4th quarter in all 10 games.

With Chicago winning ArenaBowl 20 on Sunday, former Xplorers OL/DL Khreem Smith is the first player to win the af2 ArenaCup one season and then the AFL championship the next. Smith, who had 17 sacks and was the Lineman of the Year last season with Memphis, finished second in the AFL with 8 sacks, was on the AFL All Rookie Team and was Second Team All-AFL.

(2-3 / 1-1 Home / 1-2 Away)
7/21/01 67-39 L @ Birmingham
6/14/03 51-36 L @ Memphis
4/10/04 44-27 L @ Birmingham
4/23/05 60-24 W @ Birmingham
6/18/05 62-32 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 2789
Brian Jones 2 Total Off. TDs 67
Steven Azar 6 Scoring (Kick) 69 pts
Brian Jones 2-t Rushing TDs 12
Brian Jones 3 Rushing Yds 181
Brian Jones 5 Pass Yds 2608
Brian Jones 3 PassYards/Comp 13.3
Brian Jones 2 Completion % 67.4
Brian Jones 6-t Passing TDs 55
Brian Jones 1 Passer Rating 129.4
Brian Jones 1 Pass Yds/Att 9.0
Kenny Higgins 5 Yards/Catch 16.3
Kenny Higgins 3 Rec. Yards 1008
Kenny Higgins 10 Rec. TDs 20
Steven Azar 2-t PAT ATT 76
Steven Azar 7 PAT % 82.9
Steven Azar 4 PAT Made 63
Kevin Prentiss 2 KO Ret Avg 24.4
T. Quattlebaum 1-t MFG Ret TDs 1
Chris Eggleston 8-t Sacks 5
Deon Giddens 3-t Total Tackles 68
Deon Giddens 1 Passes Def. 33
S. Cunningham 8 Passes Def. 16
Deon Giddens 2-t Fumbles Forced 3

Player Rank Category Stat
Kerry Wright 7th All-Purpose Yd/G 162.6
Kerry Wright 7th Yards/Catch 15.3
Kerry Wright 2nd Receive Yds/G 111.7
Kerry Wright 7th MFG Rtn Yds 4-63
Kerry Wright 5th MFG Returns 4
Terrell Browden 8th Rush Yards 115
Ryan Hawk 8th Pass Yds/Comp 12.6
Alex Walls t-3rd Field Goals 6-19
Alex Walls 5th Field Goals Attp 19
Alex Walls t-5th Field Goal Pct 31.6
Alex Walls t-3rd Field Goals Made t-3rd
Bobby Keyes t-7th Interceptions 6
Bobby Keyes t-3rd INT Returns 6-10

Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 3 57.1 16th 43.2
Touchdowns 1-t 82 16th 61
Total Offense 4 290.4 10th 270.9
Off avg./ play 1 7.8 14th 5.8
Scoring defense 1 39.1 4th 42.4
Points kicking 6 69 16th 56
Total defense 19 288.8 4th 237.4
Total offensive TD's 5-t 73 t-17th 57
Rushing offense 7 27.5 3rd 32.7
Yards per rush 1 4.0 t-5th 3.3
Pass efficiency 1 126.2 15th 92.4
Rushing defense 23 39.2 9th 20.1
Rushing TD's 6-t 18 t-8th 17
Pass def. efficiency 4 91.0 9th 96.2
Pass offense 6 262.9 13th 238.2
Passing Defense 17 249.6 4th 217.3
Passing Td's 9 55 17th 40
Field Goals Made 20-t 2-7 t-3rd 6-19
First Downs 5 186 t-15th 173
Opp. First Downs 17 194 6th 161
Penalties 18 65.8 t-8th 51.4
Sacks 6-t 19 8th 17
Sacks against 8 9 t-9th 12
Turnover Ratio 8 +5 t-5th +8
3rd dn conversions 10 42.2% 19th 38.1
4th dn conversions 1-t 66.7 15th 38.5

Pos. Name Injury Status
OL/DL Phillip Perry Achilles On LTIR
DS Jonathan Lyles Ankle On LTIR

Score Allow
0-9 Points 0-0 0-0
10-19 Points 0-0 0-0
20-29 Points 0-0 4-0
30-39 Points 1-0 1-0
40-49 Points 1-1 1-1
50-59 Points 2-1 2-0
60-69 Points 2-0 0-1
70-79 Points 2-0 0-0
80-89 Points 0-0 0-0
90+ Points 0-0 0-0
One Point Games 0-0
2-7 Points Games 2-2
8-13 Point Games 0-0
14-20 Point Games 2-0
21-27 Point Games 0-0
28+ Point Games 4-0
Score First 5-1
Opponent Scores First 3-1
After a win 5-2
After a loss 2-0
Before a bye week 1-0
After a bye week 0-0
In Overtime 1-0
Out pass opponent 4-1
Out rush opponent 2-1
Opponent out pass 4-1
Opponent out rush 6-1
Even rush 0-0
More total 0ffense 5-0
Less total offense 3-2
Lead after 1st qtr 3-1
Trail after 1st qtr 2-1
Tied after 1st qtr 3-0
Lead at Half 8-1
Trail at Half 0-1
Tied at Half 0-0
Lead after 3rd qtr 8-2
Trail after 3rd qtr 0-0
Tied after 3rd qtr 0-0

April 4-1
May 3-1
June 1-0

Home 5-0
Away 3-2

Overall 45-45
Home 23-22
Away 22-23
April 14-11
May 12-12
June 12-11
July 7-11

Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto

On the team's red zone success on offense....

"Even though we are not big at the receiver position, we have been very successful in red-zone situations. It is the first time in my years as head coach here that I feel confident that we are going to score every time we get inside the 20."

On winning going into the bye week...

"I told the players that if we win the two games before the bye, I will give them the entire bye week off. Our motto for the two road games before the bye was 'no excuses' and the guys put together two good games."

On the 19 for 21 passing game by QB Brian Jones versus Stockton...

"I knew he was in a rhythm, but I didn't realize until after the game that he only had two incomplete passes. He was making it seem easy."

On the physical play of the defense...

"That is what I like about our defense right now. You saw several of Stockton's players get up slow. They were feeling it. If you hit hard when you tackle, the other team starts to think about it and it affects their play."

FORWARD MOTION: The Xplorers remain on home turf next week when they host the South Georgia Wildcats on Saturday, 6/24 at 7pm at the DCC. It will be a rematch of one of the Xplorers' two losses on the season. Memphis fell to the Wildcats 48-41 in Week 7 at Albany, GA.

(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
6 vs Manchstr OS Kenny Higgins
8 vs Bossier QB Brian Jones
9 @ Amarillo WR Kenny Higgins
10 @ Stockton QB Brian Jones

(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
8 vs Bossier WR/DB Terrell Adams

(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
6 vs Manchstr DS Scott Cunningham
7 @ S Georgia OL/DL Chris Eggleston
8 vs Bossier FB/LB Dwan Wilson
9 @ Amarillo OL/DL Chris Eggleston
10 @ Stockton DS Deon Giddens

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

5/31 Placed on LTIR WR/DB Jonathan Lyles
5/31 Assigned OL/DL Ernest Jones
5/26 Assigned QB Daniel Forrest
5/25 Traded to BOS QB Stan Hill
5/19 Assigned OL/DL Decorye Hampton
5/19 Placed on Susp. List WR/DB Remuise Johnson
5/18 Assigned OL/DL Brian Smith
5/18 Assigned FB/LB Tyus Jackson
5/18 Assigned WR/DB Jonathan Lyles
5/18 Activated from STIR OL/DL Maurice Troutman
5/18 Re-assigned FB/LB Jermaine Beale
5/18 Re-assigned WR/DB Daryon Brutley
5/18 Re-assigned WR/DB D. Dunbar
5/18 Re-assigned WR/LB Tommy Manus
5/4 Activated from OLE OL/DL Maurice Troutman
5/4 Assigned OL/DL Blake Lobel
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

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