Xplorers look to improve road record
SOUTHAVEN --- While the Memphis Xplorers have won nine straight home games, the team has had some uncharacteristic struggles on the road as of late. The 6-2 Xplorers will be looking to snap a two game road losing streak when they travel to Amarillo for a 3 p.m. kickoff this Sunday for the first of two straight road games. The Xplorers will then head to Stockton, CA to play the expansion Lightning for the first time next week.
"Amarillo is very tough in their building and they are playing very well right now having won four in a row," Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto said. "It is going to be a playoff atmosphere and I am curious to see how our guys are going to respond."
Historically, the Xplorers have faired well on the road. Entering this season, the team actually had one more win on the road than at home, 19 compared to 18, in its history. Head Coach Danton Barto and his staff are hoping that a good performance and victory this week will help them forget the losses at Florida in Week Four and South Georgia in Week Seven.
Despite Amarillo playing just their second season in af2, the Dusters are a familiar opponent for Memphis. The teams faced-off three times last season with the Xplorers coming out on top each time; including a 71-30 victory in the conference semifinals. This will be the first of two meetings this season. The teams will play the rematch at the DCC on July 15.
After a 0-3 start, the Dusters have won their last four and are back in the hunt for the playoffs in the National Conference. The Dusters' defense is what has led the turnaround. In their first three games, they allowed over 60 points a game. In the last four, opponents have scored just 38 a game. For the season the Dusters are giving up 48.1 points a game and scoring 45.3.
The Xplorers' defense, as it was last season, has been stingy in points allowed. Last season, Memphis yielded a league low 37.6 points per game. This season's squad is allowing a league-low 32.8 through eight games.
So, this game could be a defensive battle.
"You never know when teams like this play what is going to happen, who is going to score and who is going to stop who," Barto said.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Xplorers will be making a change this week at the backup quarterback position. The team traded rookie Stan Hill to Bossier-Shreveport and are expected to be assigned a new quarterback before the game on Sunday. In exchange for Hill, the Xplorers received the Battle Wings' current claim order position for waived players.
The Xplorers also hope that all-time franchise sack leader Joseph Crear will back after missing last week due to a hamstring injury.
"He has felt good all week at practice and he feels that he is ready to play," Barto said. "We pushed him hard the last couple of practices to make sure he is ready."
The Memphis Xplorers...2005 ArenaCup Champions
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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