The Titans maintained their perfect record, moving to 6-0 with a 21-6 victory over the Yorkshire Rams. Overcoming some early key injuries, the Titans showed resilience on both sides of the ball as the defense once again dominated and the Offense found ways to score to get the win.
Prior to the game, the Yorkshire Rams presented the Titans captains with a wreath at the coin toss in memory of recent events in Manchester, our sincerest thanks to the Rams for the kind gesture.
The early game was dominated by defence and effective special teams. Pinned inside their own 5 from the opening kick off, the Titans went 3 and out and punted early, a strong punt and good coverage pining Yorkshire inside their own half. The pattern repeated for Yorkshire who went 3 and out and punted leaving the Titans inside their own 10 yard line.
Early injuries blighted the Titans progression with RB Joe Nicholson and WR Adam Bamber both leaving the game and RB Jonathan Pan Gago having to receive treatment.
The pattern repeated with each team having 3 possessions that ended quickly. The Titans defence led by Rick Hurst (11 Tackles), Matt McCormack (7 tackles, 1 TFL), Cade Makin (6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) and Mike Ripley (6 tackles,1 TFL) meant the Rams had to punt on three successive drives. On their 4th drive the Titans started to move the ball and drove over halfway behind the running of Jonathan Pan Gago but a fumble just over halfway gifted Yorkshire possession.
The Titans D came up big again, halting progression and it was a special teams play that changed the game, on the last snap of the 1st quarter the Titans punt rush broke through and the Punter was tackled by Makin and Alfred Mzengereza in Yorkshire territory. Into the 2nd quarter and the Titans got on the board, Pan Gago moved the ball before QB Sam Bloomfield found WR James Newnes in the back corner, a fantastic diving catch saw the former U19s player give the Titans the lead. Kicker Aaron Bowcott added the routine extras and the Titans led.
A touchback from Charlie Dixon on the kick off saw the Rams pinned back again, LB James Allen putting pay to any hopes of an inside run and again the Titans punt block broke through forcing a sliced punt out of bounds. Unfortunately the Titans, starting on the Rams 25 could not capitalise and turned the ball over on downs.
Another short Rams drive ended short of half way where, despite the Titans dominant front line on punts, they decided to go for a fake only for the runner to be swallowed into a sea of Royal Blue. The Titans again turned the ball over on downs in Rams territory but the Defence was on fire, James Allen forcing a fumble which Dave Barnett was quickest to react to and this time the Offense made no mistake. Good patience in the pocket from Bloomfield allows Newnes get open deep and another great catch, this time on the sideline moved the Titans 30 yards. Pan Gago took the ball down to the 10 and Bloomfield rolling to his right found Newnes again who evaded a tackle on his way into the endzone. Bowcott with the extra point gave the Titans a 14-0 half time lead.
The Rams came out looking to make their possession count in the second half but only found Barnett again, this time on the interception. The offense moved the ball down to the 5 yard line with good catches from George Slade and Luc Kinder, they were unable to extend their lead though as Bowcott had a short field goal blocked.
With new impetous the Rams finally got moving, a long third down from inside their own half run was stopped on the Titans 5 by Jack Hipperson. 4 plays later though and they came up short on a 4th and goal run found the walking brick wall of Rick Hurst to preserve the Titans lead. The Offense had to punt and a good return gave the Rams strong field position, a pass interference call on 4th down gave them 1st and goal and the Rams QB was able to find a receiver in the endzone. The XP was blocked and the score 14-6.
Into the 4th quarter and the Titans were able to put together a long game winning drive. Now behind the running of Gary Maybanks, the Titans drove 70 yards in 18 plays, including a clutch sideline grab from Kinder on 3rd down and a swing pass to Maybanks to keep the ball moving. Eventually Bloomfield found Kinder who stretched the ball over the goal line while being tackled for the score, Bowcott added the extra points.
The Rams tried to come back and drove into the Titans half only for Barnett to ice his considerable cake (5 tackles, 1 Fumble Recover, 2 ints) with another pick to close out the game. The Titans overcoming injuries on offence to battle through their first test of 2017 and move to 6-0. A bye week awaits before games against West Coast and the return game against Yorkshire.