The game provided all the thrills any football fan could ask for – aerial bombs, quick moves and breakaway speed, lots of scoring and, to top it all off, a melee from which three players were ejected – and when the dust had cleared from David Jardine Field the hometown Tantramar Titans had posted a solid 37-27 victory over Kennebacasis High in New Brunswick High School Football League action Saturday afternoon.
The win snapped a four game losing streak suffered by the hometown Titans while Kennebacasis fell to 2-3 on the season. The Titans have a date with the undefeated Moncton Purple Knights on Friday night and wrap up their season the following week with a trip to Riverview to meet the Royals.
It may seem a little weird but a victory over Riverview would all but shunt the Titans into the playoffs, where last season they came within a single point of winning it all after hammering the highly favoured Fredericton Black Kats 39-0 in the semis.
On Saturday it was a 5'9" "will-o-the-wisp" speedster who put the Titans on his back and carried them to the win. Cody Weeks, a Grade 11 student in his second season with the team, piled up more than 200 all-purpose yards along the ground and scored three majors with another being called off because of an illegal block.
The melee that caused the ejections and one-game suspensions followed a scintillating performance by Weeks, who had taken a kick on his own 23-yard line, weaved, shifted and scooted for 87 yards into the visitors' end zone. It was nullified on a block from the rear on the 40 and tempers flared with Brendan Melanson of the Titans joining Matt MacDonell and Kakota Smith in a free-for-all back at the 25. This will result in Melanson missing Friday's game in Moncton.
"It was a huge loss," said defensive coordinator David Burns following the game. "Brendan is, if not the best defensive linemen in the province, then certainly among the top two or three. We were forced to juggle our line when he went out and that hurt us today and will be sorely felt when we go up against the undefeated Purple Knights on Friday."
While Weeks was wreaking havoc all over the field – on kick returns as well as quick openers and sweeps – the visitors had their own weapon of mass destruction in Ryan Williams, who did everything asked of him. He ripped off huge gains with long strides and was a constant threat on almost every offensive thrust, forcing Titan tacklers to gang up on him in order to bring him down.
The Titans got on the scoreboard early when Zack Haley leaped on a loose ball in the Kennebacasis end zone following a blocked punt and Riley Morice-Chase added a single on a booming punt to run the count to 8-0. But Nathan Deltramonte quick-stepped around defenders to take a 30-yard toss from quarterback Mitch Walker, and Zach Bowles added a field goal to send the visitors to the dressing room leading 10-8.
All first half points were scored with the wind and the Titans used it to their advantage in the third session to grab a 16-10 margin and then used the power running of Weeks and Sianchuk to march down the field for a quick score in the third and added another early in the fourth only to have Williams strike again. However, the victors put the winner on the board at the 6:45 mark with Weeks again striking paydirt.
Head coach Scott O'Neal said the team is now pretty well solidified with Sianchuk proving he can handle the job at quarterback, allowing Jason Johnson to hold down several other positions. Earlier the two shared the role but the team now has an extra threat.