The Titan’s Under 19 team got their season underway with a dominating 47-0 victory away at the Merseyside Nighthawks on Sunday 7th May. The defending Northern Champions, who have fallen at the semi-final stage in both 2015 and 2016, come into the season with their sights firmly set on going one step further this season. Head Coach Phil Chapman was quick to heap praise on his coaching staff who have put in a lot of hard work preparing the team for the new season.
After taking the kick off, the Titans immediately took control of the game on Merseyside’s opening offensive play as a fumbled ball was quickly recovered by Spanish national team Linebacker and defensive captain Uday Suruzzaman.
Ex-Nighthawks QB Ben Miles marked his return to Merseyside in the best way possible with a 38 yard scramble, followed by a ‘Catch of the Game’ touchdown reception to graduating U17 player Sam Harrop to give Manchester a 6 – 0 lead. A sweep play by another U17s grad Rebs Quinn on the 2PAT made it 8 – 0.
Merseyside’s second drive wasn’t much more productive and after a punt and the shortest of water breaks, captain Kal Moffatt and the offence again took to the field. Miles again in the thick of things throwing a 17 yard TD to a third graduating U17 Ben Neill making the score to 14 – 0. Rebs Quinn again ran in the 2PAT to increase the lead to 16 – 0.
A long kick off from Sam Harrop and excellent coverage on special teams from Josh Knott, Cameron Young and Suliman Derregia meant the Nighthawks only gained short return yardage.
The ‘Big Blue Wrecking Crew’ took to the field for what has become a signature physical performance and with massive hits from Josh Williams and Tom Bown resulted in three unsuccessful attempts to move the ball. The Nighthawks set up to punt, but as the day would turn out, nothing would go in Merseysides favour and the attempted punt is blocked and recovered by Cameron Young.
With offensive linemen Ben Kwasnik, Owen Smith and Kal Moffatt controlling the line of scrimmage and giving QB Ben Miles all the protection he needed it was more of the same, as the offence scored another quick passing touchdown to Anele Hlongwane going to paydirt to extend the score to 22 – 0.
After another long kick from Sam Harrop, Merseyside start deep in there own half. A forced fumble by Suliman Derregia was recovered by Merseyside on there own 1 yard line after a large loss. Massive pressure by the Titans defence forced the safety.
Merseyside receive the kick and the Nighthawks offence takes the field. Constant QB pressure coming from Robert Duck meant it was only a matter of time before the defence got in on the scoring, and a pick 6 by Lewis Parker added to a 30 – 0 lead. A catch in the end zone by Anele Hlongwane and the score stands at 32 – 0.
After the kickoff the Manchester defence continues to dominate and an interception by Josh Knott gives the offense the ball back. Runs by Anele Hlongwane and Dante Harris takes the ball to the Nighthawks 18yard line. A 14 yard scoring catch on 2nd down by Anele Hlongwane and the extra points run in by Ben Miles takes the first half to 40 – 0.
The second half starts with Manchester receiving the kick off and after 3 plays punt the ball. Merseyside went 3 and out again and having been forced to punt, Anele Hlongwane returns for 30 yards to set up the offence on halfway. Ben Miles steps up and with his 5th passing touchdown of the game hits rookie Bill Tut with a 27 yard reception. The extra point was kicked by Sam Harrop and the score is closed at 47 – 0.
The rolling clock rule meant that the Titans offense only got 2 drives in the 2nd half.