Xplorers clinch home playoff game
BIRMINGHAM, AL --- The Memphis Xplorers assured themselves of at least one home playoff game with a 56-52 win over the Birmingham Steeldogs in their regular season finale Saturday night in Birmingham. 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.
Memphis QB Brian 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.
Call the Xplorers office next week for playoff ticket information at 662-342-1755.
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