Xplorers seek to right ship in regular season home finale
SOUTHAVEN --- The Memphis Xplorers are hoping to get back on track and wrap up a playoff spot with a win over the Amarillo Dusters at the DeSoto Civic Center this Saturday at 7 pm. The team will have its starting quarterback back on the field as they try to clinch that playoff berth and try to rebound from consecutive losses on the road to Macon and Louisville.
Brian Jones, the number two rated quarterback in af2, will return after missing last week's Louisville game due to a foot injury.
"The injury is still bugging him a little bit," Head Coach Danton Barto said. "I think sitting out last week helped Brian get rejuvenated, so he will be ready to play."
The Xplorers are also hoping to return to their winning ways from earlier in the season. For the first time since the last four games of the 2003 season, Memphis has had a stretch of three losses in four games.
Despite the recent difficult stretch, Barto is confident that his team will get back to winning and make a run in the playoffs.
"If we can just get playing football the way we are capable, we can get on a roll and win this thing," Barto said. "Yes, we've had a slide, but if we win these last two games, we build some momentum going into the post season and have a bye week to get healthy. Everybody is zero and zero in the playoffs."
Again, a win versus Amarillo will put the Xplorers in the American Conference playoffs. It will also put them in a good position to host a first round game.
The team is not out of the division race. Florida would need to lose two of their last three and, if the Xplorers win their final two, they would have the tiebreaker and get a first round bye.
The Firecats have Albany and Louisville at home the next two weeks before closing out the season at South Georgia. Following the Amarillo game, the Xplorers wrap up their regular season at Birmingham next week.
Amarillo comes in at 4-9 and on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the National Conference. The Dusters were one of the league's hottest teams heading into their Week Nine match up with the Xplorers at Amarillo on May 28. Memphis' 34-27 win that day snapped the Dusters' four game winning streak and started what is now a six game skid.
The Xplorers also have history on their side; having never lost to the Dusters in four meetings.
The Memphis Xplorers...2005 ArenaCup Champions
The next Xplorers home game is July 15 against the Amarillo Dusters at 7pm. It is another Faith and Family Night with a free pregame outdoor concert by Christian artist Shaun Groves. Call 662-342-1755 for more info.
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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