Amarillo Dusters



Years of Existence: 2005-2009
Venue: Amarillo Civic Center (Amarillo, TX)
Accomplishments
2005 Quarterfinal appearance
2006 -
2007 -
2008 - Semifinal appearance
2009 -
Lifetime Record: 29-56
Home: 20-20
Away: 9-36
Playoffs: 3-2
Average Attendance: 2,954

The Amarillo Dusters cruised to an 8-4 record in the regular season before running into the problems that many expansion teams experience. The Dusters failed to win the big game, time and time again. Only two of their regular season wins came against teams with records better than .500. After losing their last four games in a row, threee of them on the road, the Dusters sneaked into the playoffs at 8-8 and prepared for a road stretch. Their fourth road game in a row would be at Oklahoma City, a team that had defeated the Dusters by 25 points in their last meeting. This time, however, the Dusters would pull of "The Miracle at the Pyramid," winning the game 59-56. The team's next road challenge would be the 13-3 Memphis Xplorers. The Dusters season came crashing to an end via a 71-30 drubbing from the Xplorers. However, the Dusters surpassed all expectations for an expansion team. However, 2006 was a rude awakenning for the Dusters. After losing three in a row to start the season, the team got on a roll to win their next four. However, a close loss to the defending Champion Xplorers sent the team in a downward spiral. Amarillo went on to lose the rest of their games and took their worst home and road losses in franchise history. The team also set franchise lows for points scored in a home and road game. The Dusters did not improve in 2007, losing thirteen games. However, they may have been better than their record; the team lost nine games by ten points or less, including four in a row that were part of an eight game losing streak. Quarterback Steve Panella proved somewhat ineffective, posting an 82 QB rating. Julian Reese led the Dusters in 2008, passing for just four interceptions in fourteen games, and 55 touchdowns. He also rushed for over 200 yards. However, the Dusters lost six of eight games at one point and finished at 8-8, clinching the seventh seed in the playoffs. The team had lost six road games and would play all of their playoff games on the road. In a rematch with Tulsa in the first round, Reese passed for seven touchdowns and ran for another, en rout to a 65-62 upset of the defending Arena Cup champion Talons. The Dusters rolled into Bossier-Shreveport and Reese again lit it up, this time with six touchdown passes and no interceptions. A game that was tied at 45 with 12:00 to go ended up as a 59-45 Dusters victory. Amarillo advanced to play Spokane in the National Conference championship game. This time, however, Reese was picked off four times and the Dusters' offense was stifled, while the defense was overwhelmed by the Shock. The Shock bounced the Dusters from the postseason with a 79-49 victory. During the season, Donte Newsome was shot and killed during the season and his jersey was displayed at many Dusters games. In 2009, the Dusters lost Julian Reese for half of the year due to injury. Collin Drafts and Matt Bassuener filled in, but were not enough, leading the team to a 1-8 record. With Julian Reese at the helm, the team went 2-5, and three of the losses came by a combined four points, including a thrilling 79-77 overtime loss to Southwest division champion Bossier-Shreveport. Overall, the team was outscored 488-342 in the first half of games and 914-686 overall, for an average loss of 57-43. Alex Watson was the offensive star of the team, catching 61 passes for 939 yards and 25 scores. Following the 2009 season, the af2 dissolved and the Dusters joined the Indoor Football League.