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Memphis Xplorers game notes

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

Louisville Fire (9-7)
at Memphis Xplorers (11-5)
Date: Saturday, August 5, 2006
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. CDT
Site: DeSoto Civic Center (8,400)
National Anthem: Britt Gooden
Coin Toss:
Referee: Marc Curles
Umpire: Mark Baynes
Head Linesman: Dirk Bell
Line Judge: Andy Britton
Back Judge: Wayne Gautney
Radio: 730 ESPN, Jim Erickson / Chad Lindsey
Series Record: Xplorers lead series 5-3
Last Meeting: 63-55 LOU @ LOU 7/8/06
Streaks: Xplorers- 2 wins // Fire- 2 losses
Danton Barto (45-35 reg season; 3-1 playoffs, 5th Season)
Tommy Johnson (34-30 reg season; 4-2 playoffs, 4th season)

THE STAKES: The Xplorers and Fire open the 2006 af2 playoffs in a rematch of last season's ArenaCup. An Xplorers win will send them to Green Bay to face the Blizzard in the Conference Semis. If Louisville wins, they would have a semifinal date at Florida.

THE SERIES: Including last season's ArenaCup game, the Xplorers lead the all-time series 5-3. The Fire won the most recent meeting, a 63-55 contest at Louisville this season on July 8.

If Memphis defeats Louisville, it would ...
- Advance Memphis to the Semifinals at Green Bay on August 11.
- Give Memphis its 4th straight post-season win and a 4-1 overall post season record.
- Give Memphis a 3-0 home record in post-season games.
- Give Memphis a 6-3 all-time record vs the Fire.
- Give Memphis a 2-0 post-season rcord vs the Fire.
- Give Memphis coach Danton Barto his 49th career win.

MEMPHIS (11-5, WON 2)
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 W 81-53
Fri, 6/30 @ Macon 6:30 L 38-33
Sat, 7/8 @ Louisville 6:00 L 63-55
Sat, 7/15 AMARILLO 7:00 W 75-15
Sat, 7/22 @ Birmingham 7:00 W 56-52

Date Opponent ET W/L Score
Fri, 3/31 @ WB/Scranton L 45-37
Fri, 4/14 MANCHESTER L 39-34
Fri, 4/21 BIRMINGHAM W 62-40
Sat, 4/29 GREEN BAY W 45-39
Fri, 5/5 @ Birmingham L 63-60
Sat, 5/13 @ Quad City L-OT 68-62
Sat, 5/20 ALBANY W 51-38
Sat, 5/27 @ Tenn. Valley W 62-56
Sat, 6/3 WB/SCRANTON L 51-48
Sat, 6/10 SPOKANE W 79-69
Sat, 6/17 @ Albany W 86-66
Fri, 6/23 @ Manchester W 59-49
Sat, 7/8 MEMPHIS W 63-55
Sat, 7/15 QUAD CITY W 67-60
Sat, 7/22 @ Florida L 62-56
Fri, 7/28 @ Green Bay L 54-53

Danton Barto-Memphis
Barto is in his fifth season as the Head Coach of the Memphis Xplorers. The Xplorers are in the post-season for the third straight season after a third straight double-digit win season. Following the 2006 regular season, Barto's career regular season record stands at 45-35 and 3-1 in the post-season. He is the winningest coach in af2 over the last three seasons with a regular season record of 34-14. His 48 overall wins (regular and post-season) rank 4th all-time in af2 entering the playoffs. Prior to this season, the Xplorers improved on the previous season's win total in '02, '03, '04 and '05. 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 was a two-time Butkus Award finalist. 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. Barto will be leaving the Xplorers organization after 6 seasons on the sidelines to be the head coach of the Las Vegas Gladiators of the AFL next season. He is a native of Niceville, FL.

Tommy Johnson-Louisville
Louisville Fire head coach Tommy Johnson, was born in Rome, Ga., and raised in Niceville, Fla. He began his football career as a player at DeFuniak Springs (Fla.) High School. He later transferred to Niceville High School. Johnson then attended the University of Alabama, where he played defensive back. His senior class at U of A was known for having the most wins in a four-year time period (45-5-1). In 1992, he played on the Crimson Tide squad that defeated the University of Miami for the National Championship. Johnson then continued his football career with the Jacksonville Jaguars for a year. He also was given the opportunity to compete in NFL Europe. He started his Arena football career with the Albany Firebirds, and moved on to the Carolina Cobras. Johnson presently holds the record for the longest interception return for a touchdown in AFL history. In 2001, Johnson began his coaching career with the Fire as defensive coordinator. After two seasons as defensive coordinator Johnson was named head coach three games into the 2003 season, when the Fire made the late run winning two of those three games. In 2004, Johnson led the Fire to its first winning season (9-7), first af2 play-offs appearance and first play-off victory over Quad City 52-47.

LOU 63 MEM 55 @ LOUISVILLE 7/8/06
The Fire defeated the Xplorers in a rematch of last season's ArenaCup. Unlike last August, it was the Fire coming out on top and, in the process, picked up their fourth straight win and their sixth in their last seven games. The Xplorers lost for the second consecutive week and fell to 9-5 while the Fire improved to 8-5. Daniel Forrest started in place of the injured Brian Jones at quarterback for Memphis and led his team to five touchdowns on five possessions in the first half. Forrest accounted for all five as he threw for three and ran for another two. Louisville matched the Xplorers score-for-score through the first half as the teams went to the intermission tied at 35. The scoring pace slowed considerably in the third quarter as both teams tallied just once for a 42-42 tie entering the fourth. The Fire outscored the Xplorers 21-13 in the fourth quarter to make the final 63-55. Forrest, making his first af2 start, was 22 of 37 passing for 259 yards and six touchdowns. His one interception was on a deflected ball in the fourth quarter with the Xplorers down by 7. The Fire would score on the ensuing possession to take a two touchdown lead.
Forrest's favorite target was Kevin Prentiss. Prentiss had a season high 12 catches for 155 yards and 3 TD. The Xplorers did a good job defensively against the best QB-WR connection in the league; holding top rated QB Brett Dietz to 15 of 21 passing for 196 yards and 4 TD. The also kept af2 leading receiver Rob Mager in check with 6 catches for 82 yards and 2 TD.

Sat, 7/22 MEM 56 BIR 52 @ BIR
The Xplorers assured themselves of at least one home playoff game with the win their regular season finale. The win also snapped a two game road losing streak for Memphis and severely hurt the Steeldogs chances of qualifying for the post season.
The key play of the game came on the final play of the third quarter. Xplorer DS Scott Cunningham took a deflected pass 31 yards the other way to give Memphis 49-37 lead entering the fourth quarter. Birmingham had a chance at the end after their touchdown and two point conversion with 2:48 remaining made the score 56-52. The Steeldogs' Bradly Chavez intercepted a tipped Brian Jones pass to give Birmingham the ball at mid-field with 40 seconds remaining. Three incomplete passes and Maurice Troutman sack of Steeldogs QB Robert Kent prevented the comeback. Jones finished 23 of 36 passing for 294 yards, 5 touchdowns and the one INT. He also set the record for single season passing yards, passing Tim Lester's 2002 of 3817. Jones ended the 2006 campaign with 3937 yards and 81 touchdowns, also a single season franchise high. Kevin Prentiss' seven catches for 126 yards and two scores paced the Xplorers' receivers. Deon Giddens, Kenny Higins and Greg Golden each collected one touchdown reception. Dwan Wilson and Greg Golden added rushing scores. Kicker Steven Azar was a perfect 8 for 8 on PAT's.
The Xplorers finish the season 11-5 and, after having a bye in the final week of the af2 regular season next week, will open the playoffs at home on August 5 versus a yet to be determined opponent.

The Xplorers are in the playoffs for the third straight season after coming off their third straight 10-plus win season. The Xplorers regular season record the past three seasons is 34-14. Only Florida (37-11) and Tulsa (35-13) have better records over that span.

QB Brian Jones rewrote the Xplorers passing record book this season. He became the all-time single season and career passing yards leader as well as the all-time single season and career TD passes leader. His 3937 yards passing on the season broke Tim Lester's 2002 total of 3817. Jones passed Lester's career mark of 5778 in Week 3 and now has 8899 passing yards for his career. He broke his own single season TD passes record of 69 from '05 in Week 14 and finished with 81. He broke Lester's career TD passes record of 102 in Week 2 and now has 172. Jones' 8 TD passes in Week 13 win over South Georgia tied the team record held by Lester ('02). Jones also became the franchise career rushing leader in Week 4 game at Florida, passing Quentin Cradle's 402 yards. Jones' career rushing total is now 573 (6th all-time in af2).

Jones finsished the season with the top quarterback rating in the league with a 126.7. He finished tied with Louisville signal caller Brett Dietz. Jones also led the af2 with a 4.8 yards per carry average.

OS Kevin Prentiss, despite joining the team late and missing 8 games, made progress up the af2 record books. Prentiss finished the season 5th in all-time in points scored (738); 4th in overall TDs scored (123); 8th in all-time receptions (321); 3rd in receiving yards (4848); 5th in TD receptions (108); 1st in kickoff return yards (3681) and he remained 1st in kickoff return TDs (14).

Prentiss finished the season with 4 straight 100 yard receiving games, averaging 132.3 per game. For the season in his 8 games, KP averaged 111.4 receiving yards per game (3rd in the league).

The 2006 Xplorers broke the franchise record for points scored with 911 (56.9/game). The previous season high was last season's 892 points (55.8/game). The team also broke their record for first downs in a season with 300 (251 in 2005) and total offense with 4688 (4126 in 2002).

WR/DB Deon Giddens broke all three major tackle records for the Xplorers franchise in 2006. He broke the single game, single season and career tackles marks. His 13 total tackles in the season opening win at Tennessee Valley broke the previous record of 11.5 by Kenzaki Jones in 2004. His 97.5 tackles for the season shattered Kevin Cobb's total of 75 in 2003 and his 150 career tackles broke Keith Spann's previous record of 143.5.

The Xplorers tied an af2 single season record with 12 blocked kicks this season. The Richmond Speed had 12 blocked kicks in the 2002 season. OL/DL Chris Eggleston's 5 blocked kicks tied him for second on the af2 all-time single season list and is the most by an Xplorers player in a season. Joe Massey who blocked 8 kicks last season for the Amarillo Dusters is the af2 record holder.

The playoff matchup between the Xplorers and Fire pits long-time friends against each other in Memphis Coach Danton Barto and Louisville Coach Tommy Johnson. The two were high school teammates and won a state championship in Niceville, FL; faced each other in college when Barto was at Memphis State and Johnson was at Alabama and coached against each other in last season's ArenaCup. In 5 head-to-head meetings between the two coaches, Barto leads 3-2.

By playing in the game versus Louisville on Saturday, Kevin Prentiss, Joseph Crear and Nate Grace will be the only Xplorers to play in all of the franchise's 5 playoff games to date.


2004 Am. Conference First Round Florida 35 Memphis 33
2005 National Conference Semifinals Memphis 71 Amarillo 30
2005 National Conference Finals Memphis 64 RGV 49
2005 ArenaCup Memphis 63 Louisville 41
Points Scored Per Game 57.8
Points Allowed Per Game 38.8

(4-3 / 2-2 Home / 2-1 Away / 1-0 Playoffs)
5/12/01 48-35 W @ Memphis
4/6/02 60-46 W @ Louisville
6/22/02 51-50 L @ Memphis
5/17/03 68-20 W @ Memphis
6/21/03 52-40 W @ Louisville
5/8/04 70-63 L @ Memphis
8/27/05 63-41 W ArenaCup @ Bossier
7/8/06 63-55 L @ Louisville

LEAGUE TOP 10s: Players from this week's match-up who rank among af2's statistical leaders:
Player Rank Category Stat
Brian Jones 4 Total Offense 278.8
Brian Jones 6 Total Off. TDs 96
Steven Azar 7-t Scoring (Kick) 6.7
Kevin Prentiss 2 All Purpose/game 190.4
Brian Jones 4 Rushing TDs 15
Brian Jones 5 Rushing Yds 245
Brian Jones 1-t Yards/Rush 4.8
Brian Jones 8 Pass Yds 3937
Brian Jones 3 PassYards/Comp 13.3
Brian Jones 2 Completion % 68.2
Brian Jones 6-t Passing TDs 81
Brian Jones 1-t Passer Rating 126.7
Brian Jones 2 Pass Yds/Att 9.1
Kenny Higgins 5 Yards/Catch 15.4
Kevin Prentiss 10 Yards/Catch 14.6
Kenny Higgins 8 Rec. Yards 1428
Steven Azar 4 PAT ATT 121
Steven Azar 7 PAT % 83.5
Steven Azar 4 PAT Made 101
T. Quattlebaum 1-t MFG Ret TDs 1
Deon Giddens 1-t MFG Ret TDs 1
Deon Giddens 4 Total Tackles 97.5
S. Cunningham 9-t Total Tackles 86.5
Deon Giddens 3 Passes Def. 41
S. Cunningham 5 Passes Def. 31
Joseph Crear 10-t Sacks 7.5
T. Quattlebaum 1-t Fumble Rec. 4
Joseph Crear 10-t Tackles for Loss 9.5
Chris Eggleston 1-t Fumbles Forced 6
Deon Giddens 4-t Fumbles Forced 3
Player Rank Category Stat
DIETZ, Brett 4 Passing Yards/G 263.6
DIETZ, Brett 6 Total Offense/G 266.2
DIETZ, Brett T-1 Pass Efficiency 126.7
DIETZ, Brett 3 Total Offense TD's 101
DIETZ, Brett 4 Total Offense 4260
DIETZ, Brett 9 Rushing TD's 11
DIETZ, Brett 1 Pass Comp. Pct. 71.2
DIETZ, Brett 4 Passing TD's 90
DIETZ, Brett 4 Passing Yards 4217
DIETZ, Brett 2 Completions 370
GREEN, Nate 6 Kick Return Avg. 21.1
GREEN, Nate 8 Kick Return Yards 970
HENDRIX, Dave 4 Scoring (Kick) 120
HENDRIX, Dave 9 PAT Kick Pct. 80.3
MAGER, Rob 1 Receptions/G 8.94
MAGER, Rob 1 Rec Yards/G 119.9
MAGER, Rob 1 Scoring/G 20.5
MAGER, Rob 1 Scoring TD's 54
MAGER, Rob 1 Receptions 143
SIKAYLA, Kabote 7 Tackles 88.5
TAYLOR, Lance 2 Kick Return Avg. 22.4
TAYLOR, Lance 2 Kick Return TD's 3

Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 4 56.9 3 57.8
Scoring defense 1 40.9 17 53.4
Pass offense 4 266.7 5 264.4
Pass Defense 6 230.8 17 253.8
Kickoff Return Ave 12 18.0 4 19.2
Turnover Ratio 9 +5 7 +7
Rushing offense 8 26.3 T-16 18.7
Rushing defense 23 42.6 18 25.4
Total Offense 3 293 5 283.1
Total defense 14 273.4 19 279.1
Pass efficiency 2 123.2 1 125.6
Pass def. efficiency 5 91.2 14 102.0
First Downs 5-t 300 3 317
Opp. First Downs 19 306 21 317
Sacks 4 29 T-17 16
Penalties 17 63.6 13 57.2
Opp. Penalties 15 53.7 3 64.6
4th dn conversions 1 68.2% 4 57.9%
Opp 4th dn convers. 2 27.5% 22 65.8%
3rd dn conversions 7 47.1% 7 47.1%
Opp 3rd dn convers. 14 46.6% 19 48.3%
Sacks against 7 16 6 14
Field goal kicking 22 22.2%(2-9) 2 50% (6-12)
PAT kicking 6 83.5% 8 .803

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 1-0
20-29 Points 0-0 4-0
30-39 Points 1-1 1-1
40-49 Points 1-2 1-2
50-59 Points 3-2 4-0
60-69 Points 2-0 0-2
70-79 Points 3-0 0-0
80-89 Points 1-0 0-0
90+ Points 0-0 0-0
One Point Games 0-1
2-7 Points Games 3-3
8-13 Point Games 0-1
14-20 Point Games 2-0
21-27 Point Games 0-0
28+ Point Games 6-0
Score First 7-3
Opponent Scores First 4-2
After a win 6-4
After a loss 4-1
Before a bye week 2-0
After a bye week 0-1
In Overtime 1-0
Out pass opponent 7-4
Out rush opponent 2-2
Opponent out pass 4-1
Opponent out rush 8-4
Even rush 0-0
More total offense 7-3
Less total offense 4-2
Lead after 1st qtr 6-2
Trail after 1st qtr 2-2
Tied after 1st qtr 3-1
Lead at Half 11-2
Trail at Half 0-2
Tied at Half 0-1
Lead after 3rd qtr 11-3
Trail after 3rd qtr 0-1
Tied after 3rd qtr 0-1

April 4-1
May 3-1
June 2-2
July 1-2

Home 7-1
Away 4-4
Overall 47-48
Home 25-23
Away 22-25
April 14-11
May 12-12
June 13-13
July 9-12

Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto on the "Danton Barto Show"

On facing off with long-time friend Tommy Johnson, Head Coach of the Fire...

"We're really good friends, like brothers. Our families still live in Niceville and are best friends."

On how the team finished season getting prepared for the playoffs...

"We are a lot healthier now and I have a lot of confidence in our team right now. To get to this point, I'm proud of the way that everyone has pulled together and overcome a lot of adversity."


(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
12 vs S. Georgia QB Brian Jones
16 vs Amarillo OS Kevin Prentiss
17 @ B'ham OS Kevin Prentiss

(selected by media)
Week Opp. Player
2 vs Florida WR/LB Terrance Quattlebaum
3 vs Ten Val WR/DB Terrell Adams
4 @ Florida WR/LB Terrance Quattlebaum
8 vs Bossier WR/DB Terrell Adams
12 vs S. Georgia WR/DB Deon Giddens
15 @ Louisville WR/LB Terrance Quattlebaum
16 vs Amarillo WR/DB Deon Giddens
17 @ B'ham WR/DB Deon Giddens

(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
12 vs S. Georgia OL/DL Joseph Crear
15 @ Louisville OL/DL Joseph Crear
16 vs Amarillo DS Scott Cunningham

RECENT ROSTER MOVES (most recent first):
Date Action Player
7/13 Waived OL/DL Blake Lobel
7/13 Assigned OL/DL Nate Grace
7/13 Assigned WR/DB Adrian Burnette
7/13 Waived OL/DL Earnest Jones
7/13 Waived OL/DL Robert Mackey
6/29 Assigned OL/DL Robert Mackey
6/22 Assigned WR/DB Sidney Haugabrook
6/22 Waived OL/DL Brian Smith
6/21 Assigned OL/DL Alex Bell
6/21 Placed on LTIR WR/DB Terrell Adams
6/12 Waived OL/DL Decorye Hampton
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

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