Titans Defense sets the tone in win over Shropshire

Manchester Titans claimed revenge for their one point loss at Shropshire in May with a come-from-behind win over the Revolution. In what was a complete team performance, the Titans scored touchdowns on Offense, Defense and Special Teams to ensure a 20-17 victory at home.

Shropshire received the opening kick-off but a block in the back penalty meant they would have to start from their own 9 yard line and Manchester’s defense forced a 3 & out giving the Titans Offense great field position on the Shropshire 42 yard line. However on the Titans first play, the snap was fumbled and Shropshire recovered. Again Manchester’s defense dominated and held the Revolution to just 1 yard in 3 plays forcing another punt. Starting from their 18 yard line, the Titans offense drove down the field using a mixture of running by RB Ross Profit and passes from QB Alan Mead to WR Danny Caballero (2-37) and WR Steve Spence. However on 3rd down at Shropshire’s 23 yard line, a penalty forced a field goal attempt that was blocked keeping the game scoreless.

The Revolution got their offense moving on their next series and they drove all the way to the Titans 12 yard line where an errant pass into the endzone was picked off by DB Ryan Newton. However an offside penalty wiped out the interception and gave Shropshire another chance. They managed to gain a 1st & Goal from the Manchester 1 yard line but from there the Titans defense stepped up – on First Down, Shropshire QB Warren Thomas fumbled the snap and was tackled by Andy Boshell for a loss of 1. Then a screen pass to RB Lee Burnside was snuffed out by LB John Oxley and DL Erivaldo Guimaraes for a loss of 5 as the 1st quarter ended. On 3rd Down, DE Matt McCormack tackled Burnside for a 2 yard loss leading to a 25 yard field goal by Adam Harris.

Manchester were unable to mount a drive on their next possession and were forced to punt, but an 11 yard punt gave Shropshire great field position at Manchester’s 42 yard line. They drove down to the Titans 25 but on 3rd down pressure from LB Alex Reilly forced an incompletion and on 4th down Andy Burridge and Reilly combined for a sack to give the ball back to Manchester. However a run for a loss and a sack left the Titans with a tough 3rd and 19, and under heavy pressure, Mead evaded the pass rush and fired a pass downfield for Spence who was tackled before the ball arrived. The pass interference penalty gave Manchester a 1st down on the Revs 41 and from there strong running from Profit and Jonathan Pan Gago, along-with a 19 yard catch by TE Chris Heap set up Gago’s 8 yard TD run. The extra point was no good giving the Titans a 6-3 lead at half-time.

Manchester received the 2nd half kickoff but Rev’s DL Simon Juniper shot through the Titans line and ripped the ball away from QB Mead as he was attempting to hand off the ball to Gago. 3 plays later, Warren Thomas sneaked into the endzone from a yard out. Harris’s extra point made the score 10-6 in Shropshire’s favour. The teams exchanged punts on the next 4 possessions when Burridge rushed through to block the Rev’s punt with former Titans Junior player Reilly picking up the loose ball and ran 24 yards to score. The 2PAT attempt was ruled short leaving the score 12-10.

Manchester now have a week off before 3 straight road games against Leicester Falcons (13th July), Crewe Railroaders (21st July) and Staffordshire Surge (28th July) before the final game of the season at home against the Merseyside Nighthawks on Sunday 11th August.

All pictures courtesy of Gary Longstaff.