The Manchester Titans Adult Contact American Football Team warmed up for the playoffs with a 65-0 win to end their regular season at Crewe. Thanks to a dominating defensive display with produced 5 Interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns and a safety, the Manchester side were in total control as they finished with an unbeaten regular season record of 10 wins and zero defeats
Crewe won the toss and on their 3rd play, DB James Dean came up and made the tackle on 3rd down forcing a fumble which the Titans recovered. 2 plays later WR James Newnes ran in for a 15 yard TD which Kicker Ben Nuttall converted for a 7-0 lead.
The next Railroaders drive didn’t fare much better with former Titans player #8 Rik Lowthion throwing an interception to LB Rob Bainbridge. This set up ex-Junior player David Blake’s 1st TD of the day from 14 yards out. Nuttall’s kick made the score 14-0.
Crewe using the powerful running of #36 Tom Roberts drove down to the Manchester 12 yard line when the drive stalled and they were forced to attempt a 33-yard field goal. Titans DE Andrew Burridge blocked the kick, preserving the shutout.
Neither team troubled the scoreboard until the end of the 1st quarter, when following a Titans punt, Burridge deflected Lowthion’s pass into the arms of Matt McCormack who ran 24 yards to score. Nuttall added his 3rd successful PAT for a 21-0 lead.
On the last play of the 1st quarter, Roberts had the ball punched out by Titans DL Luke Hart and McCormack pounced on it. 2 plays later Blake ran in from 22 yards, Nuttall kicking the extra point for a 28-0 lead.
The Railroaders were forced to punt on their next possession but Titans QB Alan Mead threw a deep pass intended to Newnes that was tipped and intercepted. Crewe then drove 41 yards in 10 plays before LB Nathan Chrimes, another product of the Titans Junior set-up, picked off Lowthion and returned it 18 yards to the Manchester 28.
RB Adim Irozuru then ripped off a 26 yard run, before Blake added another 7 yards to his total, setting up 2nd and 3 from the Crewe 29. Mead faked the handoff and launched a long ball down the left sideline for WR Driss Mokhtari who caught it for a 29 yard TD. Nuttall’s kick was wide right but the score was now 34-0 to Manchester.
3 plays later, LB Adam Newton stepped in front of a Lowthion pass and ran it back 25 yards to score. A high snap gave no chance for a kick but holder Danny Caballero scooped up the loose ball, faked an option pitch and scampered in for a 2 point conversion. 42-0 Titans. Manchester’s defense forced a 3 and out on Crewe’s next drive and the Titans ran out the clock to end the 1st half.
The 42-0 score line meant that the 2nd half would begin with a rolling clock. After both sides exchanged turnovers, Manchester drove 63 yards to the Crewe 2 yard line. However TE Chris Heap was held short of the endzone on 4th & Goal, turning the ball over on downs.
However Burridge raced through the Crewe Offensive Line to tackle the Railroaders running back in the endzone for a safety, making the score 44-0. Crewe were forced to kick the ball back to Manchester and through Irozuru and Blake, the Titans drove downfield for Blake’s 3TD of the day, this time from 7 yards out. Nuttall’s kick made it 51-0 as the 3rd quarter expired.
Titans DB Steve Spence made the 5th Interception on the next drive and almost ran it back to score but was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Chris Payne took over at QB and sneaked the ball in for a TD. Nuttall added the extra point for a 58-0 lead.
On the ensuing kick-off, Nuttall’s kick seemed to be heading out of bounds but Heap alertly jumped on the live ball, gifting the Titans another possession. 3 plays later, Payne found Mokhtari with a short pass and the Moroccan National Team player took it 15 yards to the endzone. Nuttall’s 7th successful extra point made the score 65-0.
Crewe had time for one more drive, but it was more like the James Dean highlight show as the big-hitting safety produced a number of bone-crunching tackles, many of which forcing incomplete passes and drawing “oohs” from the crowd.
Time ran out on the Railroaders, leaving the Titans with a perfect regular season record of 10 & 0 for the 3rd time in their history. Manchester, who qualify with the number one seed, now face the Aberdeen Roughnecks on Sunday 23rd August at AJ Bell Stadium in the quarterfinals of the BAFA Division 2 Northern Playoffs.