In a game of notoriously high- powered offences, it was the defensive side of the ball for both teams that largely came out on top in this matchup on Sunday. The Highland Wildcats continued their success against English teams, once again overcoming the Titans 18-15.
The Titans started the game off on the front foot, returning the opening kick-off to the Highland 10-yard line. However, their offence could not capitalise on the opportunity, and instead Manchester opted for one of the rarest plays in Junior football: a field goal. The game then settled into a defensive rut, with the Manchester defensive front of Ben Kwasnik and Robert Duck limiting Highland to a paltry two first downs in the half, whilst Manchester failed to extend their lead.
To start the second half, the Wildcats seemed to find the form on offence that has made them such a feared outfit over recent years. However, a botched snap at the one-yard line was recovered by Spanish U19s Linebacker Uday Suruzzaman and returned 99 yards for a touchdown.
Another two picks, by Lewis Parker and Ryan Weaver, in the third further stifled the Highland offence, and set up another score for the Titans, putting them in a commanding situation in the fourth.
The Wildcats’ were able to score three times in the closing quarter to break the hearts of the Titans U19 team, with rookie receiver Lewis Taylor catching the crucial hail Mary as time expired.
This represents the first piece of silverware won by the Titans U19 program and credit goes to Coach Chapman and his team who have had another great season. In the last three years the Titans have had a 17-3 regular season record and made semi-finals in 2015 and 2016 to go with the Britbowl Trophy final in 2017, we will hope to learn from our mistakes and go even further in 2018.
The U19s finished their season as loud as ever: