Shropshire Revolution @ Manchester Titans 30-5-10
Titans thwart Revolution 36-20.
With the Manchester Titans coming off their record 72-0 win over Hull 2 weeks ago, confidence was high going into what could be their toughest game of the season. Shropshire Revolution had narrowly beaten Lancashire Wolverines in their first game and narrowly lost to Glasgow Tigers in their second and were looking to get back into winning ways.
The weather was mixed at Manchester’s Broughton Park stadium with sunny spells but a swirling wind producing difficult conditions for the kicking and passing games. Unsurprisingly both teams combined for 6 interceptions but it was the Titans Defence that made the difference in this game, returning two of them for touchdowns.
Shropshire won the toss but elected to defer, so the Titans received the opening kick-off and started to move the ball effectively but a poorly thrown pass by QB Alan Mead was intercepted by Shropshire. Manchester’s defence forced a punt and on their next possession, the Titans again were moving the ball against the Revs defence until they faced a 3rd & 9 at the Revolution 15 yard line. From here Mead found WR Adam Simms down the left sideline for the touchdown which Ryan Farrell converted for a 7-0 lead.
After a good drive in the 2nd quarter the Revolution found themselves with a 1st & 20 at the Titans 26 yard line when Safety Jonathan Homer intercepted an errant throw and returned it, with a posse of blockers, 70 yards for a TD. With regular kicker Farrell out with a concussion, back-up Dave Barnett stepped up and converted the extra point.
Both teams failed to score until late in the 2nd when the Titans moved the ball into the Shropshire red-zone. With the ball inside the Revolution 5 yard line, Mead threw behind WR James Dean in the end-zone and the Titans were forced to settle for a 21 yard Barnett Field Goal to end the half 17-0.
Any thoughts that Shropshire were going to roll over in the 2nd half were put away when the Revolution returned the 2nd half kick-off deep into Titans territory. A mixture of run & pass plays moved the ball into the Titans 4 yard line where the Revs RB #13 ran in to score. But the ensuing extra point attempt was blocked by CB Martin Fitzpatrick.
On their next possession the Titans were forced to punt and a wild snap left the Titans punter scrambling to get hold the ball and was tackled by the Revolution. Shropshire seized on this mistake and another TD run by #13, this time from 5 yards out, followed with a successful 2 point attempt brought the score to 17-14.
The Titans offense at this stage were now missing 3 RBs through injury and were struggling to move the ball and again were forced to punt but once again were rescued by their defense. The Shropshire QB attempted a screen pass to one of his WRs but was intercepted by LB Michael Smith who returned the ball 75 yards for a TD. Barnett added the PAT for a 24-14 lead.
In the 4th Quarter, Manchester’s defense forced another turnover with LB Rob Bainbridge making an interception and the Titans offense got the ball back. Behind the hard-nosed running of RB Tim Barton (20 carries for 105 yards) moved the ball to the Shropshire 20 yard line where they faced a 4th & 3. A good pass rush by the Revolution forced Mead to scramble to his right where he launched a pass over the head of the Shropshire DB for Simms in the end-zone to catch his 2nd TD of the game. Barnett’s XP was missed leaving the score-line at 30-14 in favour of the home team.
But Shropshire weren’t done. Following another good kick return, #13 added his 3rd rushing TD of the day from 5 yards out but the 2PAT attempt was unsuccessful. With the score 30-20, the Revolution attempted an onside kick which was recovered by OL Matt Gornall.
Attempting to run out the clock, the Titans faced a 3rd & 6 from the Shropshire 20 yard line. Here Mead received some excellent pass protection from his offensive line and eventually found Simms for to complete his hat-trick from 20 yards out. The kick was no good leaving the score 36-20.
On their next possession Shropshire turned the ball over on downs, leaving the Titans to run out the remaining seconds and clinch their 3rd victory of the season.
The 3-0 Manchester Titans now face the Hull Hornets in a rematch of their second game, this time at Broughton Park on Sunday 6th June.
Offence – Timothy Barton RB, for hard fought yards to keep drives alive
Defence – Jonathon Homer DB, 1st drive killer that went a long way, plus the dance