Xplorers Set to Play Amarillo Friday
Southaven, MS-The Memphis Xplorers of the af2 will host their first home playoff game this Friday against the Amarillo Dusters. The Xplorers and Dusters have played twice already this season, with Memphis prevailing in both contests.
The last time these two teams met was on May 14th, 2005 at the DeSoto Civic Center. The Xplorers jumped out to a 27-point lead, before the Dusters closed the margin to seven with only 16 seconds remaining. After Memphis recovered an onside kick, the Xplorers were able to run out the clock and sweep the season series. In week 2 of the af2 season, the Xplorers went into Amarillo, and defeated the Dusters 66-41.
"They are good comeback team, as we all witnessed this weekend," said Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto. "We struggled to put them away back in May."
Amarillo, who ended the regular season at 8-8, earned the sixth and final spot in the National Conference playoffs. On Saturday night, the Dusters played on the road against the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, and shocked the hometown fans. Amarillo trailed by 20 points in the fourth quarter before marching all the way back to take the lead with only 29 seconds left in the game. Julian Reese earned the Offensive MVP, throwing for 263 yards and five touchdowns on 19 completions.
"The Dusters are a very dangerous team," said Barto. "Anytime you see a team three times in a season you become familiar with how they play."
The Xplorers won the 2005 Mid West Division of the National Conference, which is the same division as the Dusters. The af2 rewards division winners with a bye in the first round of the playoffs, along with a home game during the divisional round.
"The team has really been practicing well heading into the Friday," said Barto. "A week of rest is always a positive thing when you are heading into the postseason. There is a great deal of focus in the locker room right now with all the guys, both rookies and vets. At this point, you are not a rookie anymore."
Game time Friday is scheduled for 7:30pm. Single game tickets are on sale now for as low as $9, and can be purchased by calling 662-342-1755, visiting the DeSoto Civic Center box office, or by logging onto www.TicketMaster.com today. Memphis Xplorers Arena Football! Back in Black!
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