Xplorers have connections to Arena Bowl
SOUTHAVEN --- The 2006 Arena Football League season comes to a close this Sunday with ArenaBowl 20 in Las Vegas, NV. The Memphis Xplorers of af2 have connections to four players that will participate in the AFL championship game that will pit the Chicago Rush versus the Orlando Predators.
Rush sack leader Khreem Smith played all 16 games last season with the Xplorers under the guidance of Head Coach Danton Barto. Smith led af2 with 17 sacks, on his way to being named the 2005 Lineman of the Year and helping Memphis to an ArenaCup Championship. This season, the former Oklahoma State standout finished second in the AFL with eight sacks and was named to the AFL All Rookie Team and was Second Team All AFL.
Two other players on the Rush roster have connections through current Xplorers Director of Player Personnel Chris Bauer. Bauer is in his second season with the Xplorers.
Chicago OL/DL Charlie Cook was signed by Bauer in 2002 when Bauer was with the af2 New Haven Ninjas. Cook also followed Bauer to Mohegan in 2003. Cook has been a key contributor on both sides of the ball for the American Conference Champions. He has three rushing touchdowns and two touchdowns receiving on offense and two sacks and nine total tackles on defense.
Rush starting QB Matt D'Orazio was also signed by Bauer at Mohegan in 2003. D'Orazio only played one game and threw one pass with Mohegan. Overall, D'Orazio is in his fourth season in the AFL and his first with Chicago. He has had a break out season, passing for over 3500 yards and 63 TD with only five interceptions.
Orlando OL/DL Greg Krause is another player that is connected through Bauer. Krause signed with Mohegan when Bauer was there and stated in all 16 games in 2002.
ArenaBowl 20 is slated for a 2 pm kickoff this Sunday. The game will be televised by NBC and seen in the Memphis market on WMC-TV Channel 5.
The Xplorers are on the bye week this week and will continue their af2 season next Saturday, June 17 when they host the Birmingham Steeldogs at the DeSoto Civic Center at 7pm.
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