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Titans dominate Trojans to kick off 2016 season

The Titans defense, shown above in action during their season-opening game in New Brunswick High School Football League action, is a key part of the team. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO
The Titans defense, shown above in action during their season-opening game in New Brunswick High School Football League action, is a key part of the team. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO

SACKVILLE, N.B. – It was almost as though the Tantramar Titans had never taken a break as they came out in full force on Friday night to hammer the Harrison Trimble Trojans 40-14 in their opening game of the New Brunswick High School Football League season.

The game was held on the new Woody Hayes Field in Moncton, and the Titans enjoyed solid fan support from parents and friends who made the trip.

Last season the Trojans provided the springboard as the Titans went on to post an undefeated regular 6-0 season and topped that off with a trio of playoff victories, culminating with their championship 18-12 victory over Riverview Royals.

Head coach Scott O’Neal admitted he is never fully satisfied with his team’s play but grudgingly agreed they had played well enough to win. But he warned that there will be much more work to do if they have any hope of repeating their 2015 performance.

As expected, it didn’t take long for fans to realize that Aidan O’Neal was ready to play football. The veteran running back/punter/returner scored early and often to set the tone for the Titans. He scored on his team’s first drive and then added a kick return touchdown moments later, setting the tone for what coach O’Neal called a big win.

The winners added a second-quarter touchdown from Jared Prescott to lead 20-7 at halftime after a missed extra point. 

The Titans improved their overall play in the second half, adding two more touchdowns, one from O’Neal and another from Prescott in the air, to pull away from the Trojans.

Grade 11 quarterback Jeff Lafford, making his first start in league play, had a solid debut managing the offence. He was calm and cool, handing the ball off to a multitude of Titan halfbacks while completing a touchdown pass to Prescott in the fourth quarter. 

Grade 10 pivot Justin Vogels made a fourth-quarter appearance, completing several passes while gaining valuable playing experience.

While the Titans won the game by a comfortable margin, coach O’Neal feels like there is plenty of work to do. His team was heavily penalized for yards in the game, something he says must improve for the team to have another successful season.

Meanwhile, O’Neal says the Trojans have a vastly improved team, perhaps the strongest they have fielded in several seasons. But the 14 points nearly equals the total number posted against the Titans in 2015. During their six league victories, they gave up a mere 30. Then on the playoff trail, they posted a 32-21 win over Moncton in the first round, hammered Saint John High 34-0 under the lights on Alumni Field in the semi finals and edged Riverview 18-12 in the finale for a scoring mark of 84-33.

With the graduation of such defensive stalwarts as Dylan Cormier and Jake Reade Futter, others will be forced to step up to pick up the slack.

But obviously the Titans will have a stress on offense and their “smash mouth” style of play. With All-Canadian Aidan O’Neal playing the leading role, they will be difficult to stop and will be seeking to post number two in the win column this Friday evening when they visit Bernice MacNaughton High at 7 p.m in Moncton. Last year it was strictly no contest as the Titans hammered the Warriors 56-0, but the Moncton school has a long record of winning and it’s expected to be a much tighter battle this time around.

The Titans will continue with their third consecutive evening game on Sept. 23 as they host Moncton High on Alumni Field. This will be one of the highlights for the players, some making their debut with the champions under such a perfect setting. The two teams have a long-standing tradition of rivalry dating as far back as the days when Ed Skiffington directed the Purple Knights and Bruce McMillan was the Titan skipper.

In discussing last week’s game, coach O’Neal said his defence held the team in until some offensive adjustments could be made.

“We ran the ball, then passed it some and then went back to the run, but we did a pretty good job of mixing it up. Trimble is a very good team and they came after us forcing us to make adjustments on the run,” he said.

The game was held on the new Woody Hayes Field in Moncton, and the Titans enjoyed solid fan support from parents and friends who made the trip.

Last season the Trojans provided the springboard as the Titans went on to post an undefeated regular 6-0 season and topped that off with a trio of playoff victories, culminating with their championship 18-12 victory over Riverview Royals.

Head coach Scott O’Neal admitted he is never fully satisfied with his team’s play but grudgingly agreed they had played well enough to win. But he warned that there will be much more work to do if they have any hope of repeating their 2015 performance.

As expected, it didn’t take long for fans to realize that Aidan O’Neal was ready to play football. The veteran running back/punter/returner scored early and often to set the tone for the Titans. He scored on his team’s first drive and then added a kick return touchdown moments later, setting the tone for what coach O’Neal called a big win.

The winners added a second-quarter touchdown from Jared Prescott to lead 20-7 at halftime after a missed extra point. 

The Titans improved their overall play in the second half, adding two more touchdowns, one from O’Neal and another from Prescott in the air, to pull away from the Trojans.

Grade 11 quarterback Jeff Lafford, making his first start in league play, had a solid debut managing the offence. He was calm and cool, handing the ball off to a multitude of Titan halfbacks while completing a touchdown pass to Prescott in the fourth quarter. 

Grade 10 pivot Justin Vogels made a fourth-quarter appearance, completing several passes while gaining valuable playing experience.

While the Titans won the game by a comfortable margin, coach O’Neal feels like there is plenty of work to do. His team was heavily penalized for yards in the game, something he says must improve for the team to have another successful season.

Meanwhile, O’Neal says the Trojans have a vastly improved team, perhaps the strongest they have fielded in several seasons. But the 14 points nearly equals the total number posted against the Titans in 2015. During their six league victories, they gave up a mere 30. Then on the playoff trail, they posted a 32-21 win over Moncton in the first round, hammered Saint John High 34-0 under the lights on Alumni Field in the semi finals and edged Riverview 18-12 in the finale for a scoring mark of 84-33.

With the graduation of such defensive stalwarts as Dylan Cormier and Jake Reade Futter, others will be forced to step up to pick up the slack.

But obviously the Titans will have a stress on offense and their “smash mouth” style of play. With All-Canadian Aidan O’Neal playing the leading role, they will be difficult to stop and will be seeking to post number two in the win column this Friday evening when they visit Bernice MacNaughton High at 7 p.m in Moncton. Last year it was strictly no contest as the Titans hammered the Warriors 56-0, but the Moncton school has a long record of winning and it’s expected to be a much tighter battle this time around.

The Titans will continue with their third consecutive evening game on Sept. 23 as they host Moncton High on Alumni Field. This will be one of the highlights for the players, some making their debut with the champions under such a perfect setting. The two teams have a long-standing tradition of rivalry dating as far back as the days when Ed Skiffington directed the Purple Knights and Bruce McMillan was the Titan skipper.

In discussing last week’s game, coach O’Neal said his defence held the team in until some offensive adjustments could be made.

“We ran the ball, then passed it some and then went back to the run, but we did a pretty good job of mixing it up. Trimble is a very good team and they came after us forcing us to make adjustments on the run,” he said.

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