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Xplosion to Host Thunder in Opening Round of Playoffs

June 8, 2008 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) - Kalamazoo Xplosion News Release

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Kalamazoo Xplosion (11-1) will open the 2008 CIFL playoffs with a home game Saturday, June 14 against division rival, the Muskegon Thunder (5-7). The contest will be the third meeting this season between the in-state foes.

The opening round playoff game at Wings Stadium will mark the second straight season the Xplosion will host a playoff game. In 2007, Kalamazoo hosted the Chicago Slaughter in the Great Lakes Conference quarterfinals and came away with a 51-40 victory before losing in the conference championship to the Port Huron Pirates.

The Thunder handed Kalamazoo its only loss of the 2008 regular season in a Week 5 overtime thriller, 44-37, at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon. But Kalamazoo returned the favor three weeks later in a rematch at Wings Stadium, when the Xplosion routed the Thunder by 30 points, 49-19.

Saturday's game marks the first playoff game for Mike Sparks as a head coach, but he was involved in the Xplosion's playoff run last season as the defensive coordinator, and expects his team's intensity level to be raised up a notch or two.

"I know the intensity of this game will be elevated once again," said Sparks. "The past two weeks we've faced opponents who had to win to keep their playoff homes alive, and we eliminated them both, which says a lot about us."

"But now we're going to need to be more intense as we prepare for a great opponent, in Muskegon. We're reminded daily of that blemish on our record from when we lost to them, and can't wait to face them at home."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm at Wings Stadium, with radio coverage beginning at 7:15 pm on ESPN 1660. For tickets, call 345-5101 or visit

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