The Manchester Titans Adult Contact team (10-0) took on the Aberdeen Roughnecks (6-4) at AJ Bell Stadium in the Quarterfinals of the BAFANL NFC2 Playoffs.
Manchester received the opening kick off and drove into Aberdeen territory, but penalties and a sack pushed them back to midfield and on 4th down their punt was blocked. The Roughnecks took over but 2 plays later, Titans DE Andrew Burridge forced a fumble to give Manchester the ball back.
The Titans then went on a 14 play, 83 yard drive, a perfect mix of 7 runs and 7 passes which culminated in QB Alan Mead’s 18 yard TD pass to TE Chris Heap. Ryan Newton added the extra point for an early 7-0 lead.
The Big Blue Wrecking Crew went straight back to work and forced another fumble, again by Burridge. Manchester drove into Aberdeen’s half as the first quarter came to an end.
On the 1st play of the 2nd quarter, the Titans extended their lead when RB Adim Irozuru rumbled 21 yards to paydirt and then added the 2 point conversion for a 15-0 lead.
Aberdeen immediately hit back with RB David Obatolu finding a hole up the middle and, showing good speed, ran 60 yards to score. The kick was successful and the score was 15-7.
A penalty forced Manchester’s offense to start from their own 9 yard line, but they went 81 yards in 13 plays to score, on a 2 yard pass from Mead to former Junior TE Ben Nuttall. Newton’s kick made the score 22-7.
The Titans defense through another former Junior, LB Nathan Chrimes, forced the Roughnecks to punt and after a 28 yard run by Ryan Newton, Mead found WR Driss Mokhtari for a 12 yard TD. Again Newton added the extra point for a 29-7 lead.
Neither team could pick up a first down on their next possessions so the 1st half ended with the Titans in control 29-7.
Manchester’s defense, led by Chrimes and fellow LB Rob Bainbridge, refused to allow Aberdeen’s offense to get into any kind of rhythm and following Burridge and DE Matt McCormack combined for a sack, a couple of penalties left the Roughnecks facing a 2nd and 33 from their own 7. The attempted deep pass was intercepted by DB Steve Spence and despite a couple of penalties on the Titans, their offense managed to move in the Aberdeen redzone. Some good running by RB Matt Kinsey set up Irozuru’s 2nd TD rush, this time from 1 yard out. The extra point was missed and the score was 35-7.
Three straight incomplete passes forced the Roughnecks to punt and Manchester took over on their 41 yard line. 8 plays later, Mead faked to Kinsey, rolled out and hit Heap in the endzone for an 8 yard TD pass. Again the PAT was no good, making the score 41-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Both teams exchanged punts on their next possession, before the Titans defense held Aberdeen short on 4th & 3. A 14 yard run by TE Jay Pitchford set up and 8 yard pass from Mead to WR Carlo Richards for another 6 points. Kinsey kicked the extra point, extending the lead to 48-7.
On the Roughnecks next drive, DL Adam Postlethwaite marked his return from injury by tipping a pass which was intercepted by LB Adam Newton. Nick-Nige Weston came in at QB and led the Titans offense on a 6 play drive, with RB David Blake gaining 32 yards in 4 straight carries before WR Danny Caballero ran in from 4 yards out. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 54-7.
Manchester DB James Dean intercepted the Roughnecks QB on the next play and returned it 25 yards. Weston then took a knee to run out the clock, allowing the Titans to maintain their perfect record through to the Semi-Finals.
The Titans will host the Peterborough Saxons (7-3) at AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 6th September for the right to play in the BAFANL NFC2 Final. In the other semi-final, Sandwell Steelers host the Newcastle Vikings.