Manchester Titans Youth @ Lancashire Wolverine Colts 15/8/10
An under-strength Titans youth team travelled up to Blackburn to take part in a double-header with the Lancashire Wolverines. With the Titans missing several players due to holidays, they would need to raise their game to defeat the division leading Wolverines.
Head Coach Alan Mead tried to do this by calling for an onside kick on the game’s opening kick-off and although the Titans failed to recover it, it seemed to inspire the team, with the defense forcing the Wolverines to go 3 and out on both their first two possessions.
Manchester’s 2nd possession produced an 11 play 51 yard drive, featuring 22 yards rushing by Wildcat QB George Warren. But a high snap on the 4th down field goal attempt forced Kicker Matt Nelan into throwing an incomplete pass to end the drive.
Lancashire’s next drive started on their own 18 yard line and despite 2 passes broken up by CB Marcus Cobb, they drove all the way down to the Titans 8 yard line. However the Manchester’s defense stepped up, firstly with Shane Mageean recording a sack and then Nathan Beaumont pressuring the Lancs QB into an incompletion. On 3rd Down Jamie Kenyon picked off a tipped pass in the endzone and returned it to the Titans 24 yard line.
The Titans offense drove to their own 41 yard line when QB Matt Blinkhorn’s pass was dropped on 3rd down by WR Andy Mwailu. Nelan’s punt was downed on the Lancashire 16 yard line. Back to back sacks by LB Cameron Linnell and Mageean forced the Wolverines to punt the ball back to the Titans. But once again, the Titans offense were unable to pick up a first down and had to punt.
For most of the first half the Titans had matched their rivals and looked to be ending into half-time deadlocked at 0-0. But with just 7 seconds left in the first half, the Wolverines caught the Titans defense napping and completed a 58 yard TD pass which they converted for a fortunate 8-0 half-time lead.
Things didn’t get much better for Manchester at the beginning of the 2nd half, although after a dropped pass by Warren, the Wolverines were penalised for having 12 men on the field giving the Titans a first down. But despite 2 catches by Nelan, an incomplete pass by Blinkhorn on 4th & 2 on the Lancashire 30 yard-line gave the ball back to the Wolverines.
From here, Lancashire drove 60 yards to score and the successful extra point made it 16-0 to the division leaders. Manchester’s next drive saw another Blinkhorn pass dropped – this time WR Dom Hayhurst got behind the Wolverines secondary but couldn’t haul in the ball. Nelan’s punt was returned 49 yards to the Titans 16 and 2 plays later, Lancashire extended their lead to 22-0. LB Gordon Cheung blocked the extra point to end the 3rd quarter.
On the Titans next possession, Centre turned Fullback Adam Barnett carried the ball 3 times for 13 yards to help spark a drive that moved from the Titans 15 yard line to the Wolverines 27 but incompletions on 3rd and 4th down ended the drive. Again Lancashire punished the now tiring Titans defense by driving 73 yards to score their 4th TD of the game making the score 28-0.
With under a minute to play Blinkhorn completed passes of 19 yards to WR Christian Beaumont and 32 yards to Warren to move the Titans into scoring range. But Hayhurst and Beaumont dropped sure TD passes to leave the Titans scoreless. The game ended with the final score on 28-0 in favour of the Wolverines.
Whilst the offense struggled, the linebackers performed admirably with big performances from Mike Ainscow (8 tackles), Gordon Cheung (6 tackles) and Cameron Linnell (5 tackles and a sack).
The Titans final game is away to Lanarkshire Longhorns on Sunday 22nd August.
Offence: Matt Blinkhorn, great passing under pressure but not helped by his receivers.
Defence: Jamie Kenyon, 6 tackles and an endzone interception.
Special Teams: Matt Nelan, good punting all game long.