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Memphis Xplorers game notes

June 22, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Memphis Xplorers News Release

South Georgia Wildcats (1-10)
at Memphis Xplorers (8-3)
Date: Saturday, June 24, 2006
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. CDT
Site: DeSoto Civic Center (8,400)
National Anthem:
Coin Toss:
Referee: Marc Curles
Umpire: Mark Baynes
Head Linesman: Dirk Bell
Line Judge: Larry Neal
Back Judge: Tony Ross
Radio: 730 ESPN, Jim Erickson, Chad Lindsey
TV: None
Series Record: Wildcats led 3-0
Last Meeting: 48-41 SGW @ SGW, 5/13/06
Streaks: Xplorers- 1 loss // Wildcats- 5 losses
Danton Barto (42-33 reg season; 3-1 playoffs, 5th Season)
Donnie Davis (2-15; 2nd Season)

THE STAKES: This is the second of two meetings in 2006. The Wildcats pulled off the upset in Week 7 at Albany, GA with a 48-41 win. That stands as the only win of the season for South Georgia. The Xplorers are attempting to rebound after a last second loss to Birmingham last week.

THE SERIES: The Xplorers are 0-3 all-time versus the Wildcats. The first two meetings were when the Wildcats played in Fayetteville, NC as the Cape Fear Wildcats. The Wildcats 48-41 win at Albany on 5/13 was the first time the Xplorers faced the Wildcats since their move to South Georgia two years ago.

If Memphis defeats South Georgia, it would ...
- Give Memphis its 10th win its last 11 home games.
- Give Memphis its first ever win over the Wildcats
- Keep Memphis tied with most number of wins in af2.
- Give Head Coach Danton Barto his 46th win, passing Kevin Porter on the all-time list

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 L 43-42
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
Sat, 4/8 Tenn Valley L 58-50
Sat, 4/15 Tulsa L 46-24
Fri, 4/21 @ WB/Scranton L 36-33
Sat, 4/29 Birmingham L 40-34
Sat, 5/6 @ Macon L 60-22
Sat, 5/13 Memphis W 48-41
Sat, 5/20 @ Oklahoma City L 66-33
Sat, 5/27 @ Florida L 64-28
Sat, 6/3 Macon L 55-42
Sat, 6/10 @ Birmingham L 42-35
Sat, 6/17 Green Bay L 52-50
Sat, 6/24 @ Memphis 8:00
Sat, 7/8 Bos-Shreveport 7:30
Sat, 7/15 @ Tenn Valley 8:30
Sat, 7/22 @ Rio Grnde Valley 8:30
Sat, 7/29 Florida 7:30

Danton Barto-Memphis
Barto is entering his fifth season as the Head Coach of the Memphis Xplorers. His career regular season record entering the season stands at 34-30 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 coordinator 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 played for the Tigers from 1990-1993. 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. In the CFL, he played for the Shreveport Pirates, Memphis Mad Dogs, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Ottawa Rough Riders. In the AFL, he played for the Connecticut Coyotes in 1996. Coach Barto currently resides with his wife Rachel and his 7-year-old son Will in Bartlett, Tennessee. He is a native of Niceville, FL.

Donnie Davis-South Georgia
Davis was named the Wildcats second head coach in the team's five-year history on June 14, 2005. Davis served as the Offensive Coordinator for the Georgia Force (AFL) during the 2004 season. In his first game as Offensive Coordinator, Davis guided the Force to a 72-51 victory snapping a six game losing streak. During the remaining four games the Force averaged 58.3 points per game. Davis began his Arena Football League career with the Arizona Rattlers in 1997 and guided them to an Arena Bowl XI championship and earned MVP honors. After three seasons with the Rattlers, Davis joined the Milwaukee Mustangs for a season and then went on to play two seasons with the Georgia Force before retiring in 2003. He finished his AFL career 701-of-1,108 passes for 8,192 yards and 138 touchdowns. He also rushed for 155 yards on 46 carries and 12 touchdowns. Davis ended his collegiate career in 1995 at Georgia Tech in fifth place on the Yellow Jackets career passing list with 3,261 yards and touchdown passes with 22. He also rushed 96 times for 390 yards and four touchdowns. Donnie and his wife Telsie and have two daughters, Chloe and Charlee.

The Wildcats won their first game of the season with a 48-41 upset of the Xplorers at the Albany Civic Center. Behind new starting quarterback Julian Reese, the Wildcats took an early 13-0 lead and led 27-14 at halftime. Reese, the Schutt Offensive Player of the Game, passed for three scores and rushed for another. James Harris added three rushing touchdowns for the victorious Wildcats. The Xplorers came out of the halftime break determined to right their ship and they did; scoring three touchdowns on four plays to start the third and take a 35-27 lead. The first touchdown of that three touchdown run came on the first play of the half. Jones looked right and then ran left for 45 yards, the longest run from scrimmage in Xplorers history to cut the Wildcats lead to six points. Jones accounted for all six of the Xplorers touchdowns with five scoring tosses to go with the long run. Ultimately it was a fourth down stop by the Wildcat defense with under 30 seconds remaining that preserved the upset win; the first home win for South Georgia since 5/14/05.

Birmingham kicker Alex Walls kicked a 25 yard field goal on the final play of the game to the send the Birmingham Steeldogs to the upset win. The Steeldogs rallied from a 42-33 deficit in the final five minutes to improve to 6-5. The Xplorers fell to 8-3 and had their nine game home winning streak snapped. Memphis QB Brian Jones passed for 278 yards and five touchdowns, but he also threw an uncharacteristic three interceptions, including one in the final minute that set up the winning kick for the Steeldogs. Memphis took a 42-32 lead with 5:20 remaining in the game on a Jones to Kenny Higgins touchdown toss. The Steeldogs followed with a Robert Kent three yard run with :55 left to cut the lead to two. Two plays after Memphis got possession on the ensuing onside kick attempt that the Steeldogs touched prior to the ball going ten yards, Bradly Chavez picked off a Jones pass and returned it 30 yards to the Memphis 5. Five plays later Walls, who finished with three field goals, booted the game winner through the uprights. Birmingham QB Ryan Hawk was 25 for 37 passing for 231 yards and one touchdown. The Steeldogs did not turn the ball over while the Xplorers had the three interceptions. Steeldog receiver Allynson Sheffield had a big night with 14 catches for 148 yards and one TD.

The 43-42 loss last week to Birmingham gave the Xplorers an all-time record or 4-5 following a bye. The loss also snapped the team's 9 game home winning streak that dated back to last season and included the playoffs.

Before last week's loss, the last Xplorers game to be decided by 1 point was a 55-54 win at Manchester on 6/18/04. The last time the Xplorers lost a 1 point game was a 26-25 loss at Columbus in the 2003 season opener. Among the 95 games (reg and post season) in their 6 year history, the Xplorers have had 5 one point games and are 2-3 in those games.

DS Deon Giddens set the franchise record for total tackles in a season in last week's game versus Birmingham. Giddens' game-high 12 total tackles give him 80 on the season. That number surpasses the old record of 75 in 2003 by Kevin Cobb. Giddens also set the single game franchise mark with 13 tackles in Week 1.

Kevin Prentiss made a move upward last week in 3 categories on the all-time af2 record book. With his 6 receptions last week, Prentiss moved into a 10th place tie on the af2 all-time list with 282 career receptions. Prentiss also climbed to to 8th on the all-time yards receiving list. His 88 yards last week give him 4319 for his career. His two TD receptions moved him into the 7th slot with 98.

Here is where Prentiss ranks in other af2 career categories: Points-5th (672); Overall TD-5th (112); Kickoff Return Yards-3rd (3279); Kickoff Return TD-1st (13).

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 11 games, the Xplorers have led at halftime in 10 of them. The team has also led entering the 4th quarter in all 11 games.

With Chicago winning ArenaBowl 20 on Sunday, 6/11, 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.

(**Were Cape Fear Wildcats 2002-2004)
(0-2 / 0-1 Home / 0-1 Away)

7/26/03 55-33 L @ Cape Fear
7/3/04 46-35 L @ Memphis
5/13/06 48-41 L @ South Georgia

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 280.1
Brian Jones 3-t Total Off. TDs 73
Steven Azar 6 Scoring (Kick) 73
Brian Jones 3-t Rushing TDs 13
Brian Jones 2 Rushing Yds 195
Brian Jones 4 Yards/Rush 4.6
Brian Jones 4 Pass Yds 2886
Brian Jones 3 PassYards/Comp 13.5
Brian Jones 2 Completion % 67.1
Brian Jones 5-t Passing TDs 60
Brian Jones 2 Passer Rating 126.1
Brian Jones 1 Pass Yds/Att 9.0
Kenny Higgins 7 Yards/Catch 16.3
Kenny Higgins 3 Rec. Yards 1142
Kenny Higgins 8 Rec. TDs 22
Steven Azar 4 PAT ATT 81
Steven Azar 7 PAT % 82.7
Steven Azar 5 PAT Made 67
T. Quattlebaum 1-t MFG Ret TDs 1
Chris Eggleston 8-t Sacks 5
Deon Giddens 2 Total Tackles 80
S. Cunningham 9 Total Tackles 57.5
Deon Giddens 1 Passes Def. 35
S. Cunningham 6-t Passes Def. 20
Joseph Crear 6-t Sacks 5.5
Joseph Crear 8-t Tackles for Loss 7.5
Player Rank Category Stat
Julian Reese 10 Total Offense 249.4
Chris McKinney 6 All Purpose Yards 1758
Julian Reese 8 Yards per Rush 4.1
James Harris 9-t Yards per Rush 4.0
Julian Reese 5 Rushing Yards 170
Chris McKinney 5 Receiving Yards 1101
Chris McKinney 3 Receptions 94
Dan Burnett 5-t Field Goals Made 7
Chris McKinney 3-t Kick Return TDs 2
James McCoy 3 Total Tackles 75
James McCoy 1-t Fumbles Rec. 4

Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 5-t 55.7 22 36.3
Touchdowns 5 88 22 54
Total Offense 4 290.2 20 220.2
Off avg./ play 1 7.9 21 4.9
Scoring defense 1 39.5 16 50.9
Points kicking 6 73 21 51
Total defense 20 287 11 259.5
Total offensive TD's 8 79 22 47
Rushing offense 7-t 26.6 2 34.0
Yards per rush 1 4.0 4 3.3
Pass efficiency 2 123.2 21 72.7
Rushing defense 23 38.5 20 29.2
Rushing TD's 8-t 19 10 18
Pass def. efficiency 5 91.0 18 106.1
Pass offense 5 263.5 20 186.2
Passing Defense 16 248.5 6 230.3
Passing Td's 9 60 22-t 29
Field Goals Made 20-t 2-7 4-t 7-23
Turnover Ratio 11 +2 23 -18
First Downs 6 201 20 178
Opp. First Downs 17 213 4 173
3rd dn conversions 7 48.8% 22 34.8%
4th dn conversions 2 66.7% 18-t 33.3%
Sacks 7 21 T-20 9
Sacks against 8 11 21 30
Penalties 16-t 65.7 2 46.2

Pos. Name Injury Status
OL/DL Phillip Perry Achilles On LTIR
DS Jonathan Lyles Ankle On LTIR
WR/DB Terrell Adams Knee 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 1-2 1-2
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 0-1
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 5-2
Opponent Scores First 3-1
After a win 5-3
After a loss 2-0
Before a bye week 1-0
After a bye week 0-1
In Overtime 1-0
Out pass opponent 4-2
Out rush opponent 2-1
Opponent out pass 4-1
Opponent out rush 6-2
Even rush 0-0
More total 0ffense 5-1
Less total offense 3-2
Lead after 1st qtr 3-2
Trail after 1st qtr 2-1
Tied after 1st qtr 3-0
Lead at Half 8-2
Trail at Half 0-1
Tied at Half 0-0
Lead after 3rd qtr 8-3
Trail after 3rd qtr 0-0
Tied after 3rd qtr 0-0

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

Home 5-1
Away 3-2

Overall 45-46
Home 23-23
Away 22-23
April 14-11
May 12-12
June 12-12
July 7-11

Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto

On the team's mistakes in the loss on Saturday...

"We had a number of bone-head plays. Not taking away from what Birmingham did, but we killed ourselves all night long."

On what they need to do to get better...

"We need to get pressure on the quarterback. We aren't able to do that now and it's putting us behind the eight ball each game. We need to find a pass rusher that can make plays"

On the rematch with South Georgia...

"I think they are a good football team despite their record. Plus they are going to come in with confidence against us because of their win over there last month."

FORWARD MOTION: The Xplorers begin a stretch of 3 road games in their final 4 as they travel to Macon the face the Knights next Saturday at 6:30 CDT. Memphis defeated Macon 62-26 at the DCC in Week 5.

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