Xplorers look to bounce back at home
SOUTHAVEN --- One has to go back to July 16 of last year to find the last time that the Memphis Xplorers had to prepare for a game after a loss. That is the scenario that the defending ArenaCup champions face entering their Week Five home game with the Macon Knights tomorrow night at the DeSoto Civic Center. Kickoff tomorrow night in the Xplorers' only Friday home game is 7 p.m. The Xplorers had a nine game winning streak snapped in a 60-55 loss to the Florida Firecats last week.
"It had been so long since the last one (loss) that I think I forgot how to react after a loss," Head Coach Danton Barto said. "It's a loss and we need to regroup."
The loss was the Xplorers (3-1) first of the season and it also knocked them from the top spot in the weekly af2 coaches poll. More painful than that, was the fact that Memphis had built a 26-0 lead in the second quarter and saw that lead disappear by the midway point of the third quarter.
"The bottom fell out," Barto said. "You probably can point to a lot of things...the fumble on the kickoff return, (OL/DL) Adrian Gonzalez getting ejected, the kickoff that bounced off the net that they recovered and, don't forget, that Florida is a very good football team."
The team worked hard this week to prepare for Macon and to put last week's loss behind them.
"We spent a lot of time this week refocusing on the little details," Barto said. "We have also had some open competitions for some spots and I think it will all help us get back on track."
The Macon Knights (1-2) picked up their first win, 58-55 over Tennessee Valley last week after starting with home losses to Albany and Florida. Second year head coach Derek Stingley is looking to build on the momentum he helped build when he took over the Knights after six games last season. After Macon started 2-4, Stingley would guide the Knights to an 8-8 record and a playoff berth. The Knights were barely eliminated in the first round by the eventual ArenaCup runner-up Louisville Fire 55-54.
"I think Macon is a very good football team," Barto said. "I know they have struggled a little early, but they have a lot of good skilled players. I thought going into the season that they could be the surprise team of the year and they still could be. It should be a hard fought game."
This is just the second all-time meeting between the Xplorers and Knights, even though both teams are in their sixth af2 season. Memphis won the only other meeting; 37-12 on July 24, 2004 at the DCC.
WR/DB Terrell Adams will return to the Xplorers' lineup after missing last week's game due to personal matters. Adams had 18 receptions for 190 yards and four touchdowns in the first three games. The Macon game will be the first since the home opener that the Xplorers will have both Adams and WR/DB Terrance Quattlebaum in the lineup. Quattlebaum missed the Week 3 win over Tennessee Valley with a concussion. Quattlebaum returned with a vengeance last week; catching 10 passes for 107 yards and four scores in the loss at Florida. He also added a 48 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown.
After tomorrow night's game, the Xplorers will finally venture out of the South Division with a home game against the Manchester Wolves on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
The Memphis Xplorers...2005 ArenaCup Champions
The Xplorers are defending their Arena Cup Championship in 2006 and you can be in on the action.
Take advantage of the Xplorers 4-Pack or fantastic discounts for groups of 15 or more. Don't miss all the action of the "50-Yard Indoor War." For ticket information call the Xplorers office at 662-342-1755. Single game tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling 901-525-1515 or in person at the DeSoto Civic Center box office during business hours.
Listen to all the action on the radio home of the Xplorers, 730 ESPN.
Be sure to head to O'Charley's on Goodman Road in Southaven after every Xplorers home game for the official post game party.
Listen to the Danton Barto Show every Monday at 6pm on 730 ESPN live from The Fox and Hound in Southaven.
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