The Manchester Titans cruised to 3-0 and now sit on top of the BAFANL Div2 Central Conference following a 58-0 win over the Crewe Railroaders at Crewe’s Cumberland Fields. With the Titans amassing 484 yards of total offense and scoring 2 defensive touchdowns, the rookie team were always going to find it tough to compete.
Crewe took the opening kickoff and started moving the ball effectively on the ground, picking up a couple of first downs before being forced into a punting situation on 4th & 3. A high snap gave the punter little chance at a clean kick and he was tackled for a loss by Rookie DL James Johnson.
Manchester took just 3 plays – all runs by RB Nick Copley – to move the ball 47 yards, the last a 33 yard run, with Matt Nelan kicking the extra point for a 7-0 lead. Crewe went 3 and out on their next possession and a 20 yard punt gave Manchester excellent field position on Crewe’s 29 yard line. On the very next play FB Jonathan Gago rumbled into the endzone for his 3rd TD in as many games. Nelan again added the extra point, making the score 14-0.
The Railroaders were again forced to punt on their next possession but a much better punt, pinned the Titans back on their own 15 yard line. However a 13 yard Copley run, gave them some breathing space and then QB Rik Lowthion hit WR Will Kinghorn on a 62 yard TD pass to make the score 20-0. Ric Pennington’s point after kick was blocked by Crewe.
The 1st quarter ended with Crewe being forced to punt again. This time DE Andy Burridge blocked the kick and with the ball rolling into the endzone, managed to dive on it to score his first ever touchdown. Pennington’s kick was successful giving the Titans a 27-0 lead.
On Crewe’s next series, they drove quickly into Manchester’s territory but DE Matt McCormack alertly recovered a fumble ending a promising drive. The Titans drove from their 30 yard line to Crewe’s 15, thanks to a 17 yard run by RB Scott Waterworth and a 22 yard run by FB Rick McEwan, but Lowthion’s pass to Kinghorn fell incomplete. On 4th Down, Nelan kicked a 33 yard field goal to make the score 30-0.
Crewe’s best drive of the first half followed as they went 47 yards in 9 plays but their pass on fourth down from Manchester’s 17 yard line was stopped short of the first down marker through the combination of Johnson, McCormack and LB Rob Bainbridge all gang-tackling the ball-carrier.
With time running out in the 1st half, Lowthion moved the Titans quickly down the field with completions to WR Drew Sherratt & Nelan before hitting WR Adam Simms for a 24 yard TD. Pennington’s kick made the half-time score 37-0.
Manchester’s first possession of the 2nd half saw them match down to Crewe’s 7 but a tipped Lowthion pass was intercepted on the Crewe 3 yard line. From here the Railroaders drove the ball to Manchester’s 42 before DL James Newall forced a fumble that DB Greg Michael picked up and scampered from 58 yards out to score. The extra point by Pennington was good, giving the Titans a 44-0 lead.
Crewe turned the ball over on downs on their next series and with FB Jon Homer featuring with an 11 yard catch and 2 runs of 30 yards, Manchester scored on their next possession – a Homer run from 17 yards out. Pennington’s extra point made the score 51-0.
The Railroaders again couldn’t get anything going offensively, with DB James Dean leading the charge with a game high 6 solo tackles, and had to punt the ball back to Manchester. The Titans drove 70 yards through the running of RB Tom Spencer and 2 receptions by WR Danny Caballero which set up a 2 yard run by FB Pete Birds. Pennington’s 5th XP made the score 58-0.
Once again, Crewe were unable to muster anything offensively and punted the ball back to Manchester. Lowthion took a knee to end the game moving the Titans 3-0, with the all eyes on the crucial fixture at Sheffield next Saturday.