Titans surge through Staffordshire

Manchester Titans at Staffordshire Surge 25/7/10

Manchester Titans 34-0 Staffordshire Surge. The Manchester Titans continued to dominate the BAFA Division 2 Central with a convincing 34-0 win over the Staffordshire Surge. An unforgiving Defense and an unstoppable running attack that produced over 300 yards led the way to the Titans 7th victory of the season.

Playing at the Surge’s new home ground in Stoke, the Titans elected to receive the opening kickoff and on the first play from scrimmage, QB Alan Mead hit star WR Adam Simms with a 50 yard TD pass. The extra point was blocked but Manchester had a 6-0 led that they would not relinquish.

The Surge’s first series lasted only 3 plays when LB Rob Bainbridge forced a fumble that DL Keith “Beefy” Lees recovered and the Titans had the ball in Staffordshire territory. However, Mead was having an off-day and threw the first of 4 interceptions just 2 plays later.

Amazingly, the ever-alert Lees recovered another fumble after strong tackling by LB Hugh English and DE Phil Cowey. Two 7 yard runs by RB Ross Profit moved the ball to the Surge 29 yard line but a Mead pass intended to WR Will Kinghorn was tipped to a Staffordshire DB for another interception at their 26 yard line.

This time the Surge started to move the ball, but faced a 3rd & 11 at midfield. From here, DB Martin Fitzpatrick knocked down a Surge pass to force a punt. After 4 running plays had moved the ball to the Staffordshire 36 yard line, Mead again looked long to Simms but the pass was just tipped away at the last second. Then on 4th & 9 the Surge pass rush hit Mead as he was throwing leading to the 3rd interception to end the mistake-ridden 1st Quarter.

Staffordshire’s Offense continued to move the ball with a 10 play 51 yard drive. But on 3rd and Goal from the Manchester 8 yard line, the Surge TE dropped a sure TD pass and on 4th Down the pass was incomplete turning the ball over to the Titans.

Manchester then drove 82 yards in 12 plays to score, mainly through the running of RBs Tim Barton and Nick Copley before Profit scored from 2 yards out. Barton added the 2PAT for a 14-0 lead.

A devastating tackle by OL Ashley Dewing on the ensuring kick-off forced the Surge to start on their own 26 yard line and they were pushed back to their 23 after a DE Andy Burridge tackled the runner for a 3 yard loss. Burridge then applied pressure to the Surge QB, forcing him to throw early to his RB who foolishly let his knee touch the ground as he made the reception for a loss of 4. A woeful 13 yard punt gave the Titans great field position on the Staffordshire 32 yard line.

An 18 yard Copley run moved the ball into the Surge redzone and from here, two Mead to Kinghorn completions gained 13 yards, with the latter a 5 yard TD for a 20-0 lead. Profit fumbled the hand-off on the two point conversion and the attempt was snuffed out.

The Titans defense held firm on the Surge’s last drive of the 1st half and the quarter ended with the score 20-0 to Manchester.

The Surge’s opening drive of the 2nd half was a 3 & out and the Titans took over after the punt on their 19 yard line and immediately drove into Surge territory behind the running of Nick Copley. But two holding penalties on Simms and Barton pushed the Titans backwards and on 3rd and 12, Mead again turned the ball over the Surge on his 4th Interception.

The Titans defense again rose the occasion and on 3rd and 13, DL Paul Welsh sacked the Surge QB to force another punt which was downed on the Titans 12 yard line.

From here the Manchester offense produced an 11 play, 78 yards drive, starting with two Ross Profit runs netting 21 yards. The drive also included receptions of 11 yards by WR Rik Lowtion and 5 yards by Simms and four rushes for 35 yards by Copley, the final one from 2 yards out to increase the Titans lead to 26. Profit’s 2PAT attempt was stopped just short of the goal-line.

The 4th began like many of the previous Staffordshire drives with a 3 and Out and a poor punt – this one of just 9 yards. But the Titans were unable to move the ball thanks to 2 dropped passes and the Surge took over on their 40 yard line. A 23 yard run plus a late hit penalty on Titans DB Jonathan Homer moved the ball to the Manchester 14 yard line. But once again the Titans defense repelled the Surge with key tackles from Burridge, McCormack, Welsh and LB John Flynn. A 4th down pass fell incomplete ending Staffordshire’s best opportunity of scoring.

Again the Titans starting from deep in their own half, produced a long march down the field with good running from Profit, Barton and Copley. A false start penalty on Lowthion left the Titans with a 3rd and 14 but a reception by WR James Dean was 4 yards short of the First Down and Mead’s pass to Simms was batted down on 4th Down at the Surge 20 yard line.

However, Lees recovered his 3rd fumble of the day on the next play and following an offside penalty on Staffordshire, Copley ran in his 2nd TD from 15 yards out, giving him 168 yards rushing on the day. Mead’s bullet throw to RB Niall Sweeney gave Manchester the 2PAT and a 34-0 final scoreline.

The Titans next play the Clyde Valley Blackhawks at 3:30pm at Broughton Park on Sunday 8th August as part of a double-header fixture with the Titans Youth Team playing Lanarkshire Longhorns at 12noon.