The Manchester Titans, sponsored by Manchester Printers, set themselves up for an end of season, winner-takes-all clash with the Merseyside Nighthawks by beating the Staffordshire Surge 60-14. The Titans final game of the season at Salford on Sunday 11th August will decide which team enters the playoffs.
However Manchester had more pressing matters on Sunday when they travelled to Stoke, if they slipped up the final game of the season would be largely irrelevant. The Titans took the opening kickoff and drove the ball effectively against a strong wind using a rushing attack of Nick Copley, Matt Brown and Jonathan Pan Gago. They had moved 59 yards in 8 plays when Brown fumbled on the Surge 11 yard line, with Staffordshire recovering.
The Surge then put together a solid drive of their own, and despite Erivaldo Guimaraes and Andy Boshell combining to sack Staffs QB Richard Large, they drove down to Manchester’s 7 yard when Large’s pass was picked off by CB Ainsley Battel. The Titans Offense again moved the ball well on their next drive but again they turned the ball over in Surge territory – QB Alan Mead’s pass was intercepted by Surge CB Lewis Wilkie.
The ensuing kick-off went out of bounds, meaning the Surge would start from their 30 yard line and on their first play Large threw straight at Titans DB Andy Higson, who had just returned from injury, and he intercepted the pass and returned it 35 yards to paydirt. Nelan’s kick was good and the Titans had a 60-8 lead.
A great return by Staffordshire gave the ball on Manchester’s 20 yard line and 7 plays later Surge WR Williams outjumped the Titans DBs for his 2nd TD of the game. The 2PAT attempt was incomplete making the score 60-14.
A 50 yard kick return by Glenn Herring gave the Titans good field position and they drove down to the Surge 4 yard line before Weston’s pass was intended for Borthwick was intercepted by Surge DB Wilkie.
The final Surge drive ended as time expired and Manchester could now look towards their final game the season – a home game against the Merseyside Nighthawks, with the winning team moving onto the playoffs and the loser ending their season.
The game is also Manchester’s 100th competitive game and should be a great event on Sunday 11th August at Salford City Stadium. More information to follow.
All photos courtesy of Kevin Randle.