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Titans set to take on Saint John Greyhounds

Tantramar Titan Sam Alward goes up for the interception during Saturday’s home game against the Mathieu Martin Matadors. Tantramar dominated the opposition with a final score of 93-0. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO
Tantramar Titan Sam Alward goes up for the interception during Saturday’s home game against the Mathieu Martin Matadors. Tantramar dominated the opposition with a final score of 93-0. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Touchdowns were a dime a dozen here Saturday morning but unfortunately for the visiting Mathieu Martin Matadors none came their way. The hometown Titans had it all their way as they scored at will, whether it was the starting lineup or mostly Grade 9ers on the field.

At the end of the first 12-minute quarter, the score was 37-0 and the steamroller just kept on rolling regardless of who was on the field.

Naturally it was all-Canadian Aidan O’Neal who led the way, racking up five touchdowns in a variety of ways before taking the second half off, allowing the younger and more inexperienced athletes to get their taste of action.

Jared Prescott also took the time to rest and watched as youngsters like Jeff Lafford, Bradley Ogden and Tomas Campbell took turns finding the end zone. According to some, the final total was 92 and others felt it was 93 but that wasn’t the point – Mathieu Martin Matadors, once a powerhouse in football, was so outclassed that the result does nothing to enhance the game of football.

At the end of the first 12-minute quarter, the score was 37-0 and the steamroller just kept on rolling regardless of who was on the field.

Naturally it was all-Canadian Aidan O’Neal who led the way, racking up five touchdowns in a variety of ways before taking the second half off, allowing the younger and more inexperienced athletes to get their taste of action.

Jared Prescott also took the time to rest and watched as youngsters like Jeff Lafford, Bradley Ogden and Tomas Campbell took turns finding the end zone. According to some, the final total was 92 and others felt it was 93 but that wasn’t the point – Mathieu Martin Matadors, once a powerhouse in football, was so outclassed that the result does nothing to enhance the game of football.

A Mathieu Martin player is pulled down by Tantramar Titan Aaron Rose in Saturday’s game. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO

In their first four games, the Titans have accounted for an amazing total of 205 points while allowing just 20. This is about on a par with the 2015 season when they outscored the opposition 255-30.

While this may provide some bragging rights in future discussions, it does nothing to prepare the Titans for when they meet stiffer competition. And they will, for next Saturday they will be at home to entertain the Saint John Greyhounds whom they downed 34-0 in last season’s semi-final. Then they tackle Odyssee – the team that has whipped by Riverview and Harrison Trimble – before closing out in Riverview.

So inept were the visitors on Saturday that the Titans notched their opening major after just 40 seconds had ticked off the clock. This came after a turnover and O’Neal merely trotted home and added an explanation point by returning a punt for 55 yards less than two minutes later.

As the game wore on, it became obvious that the Matadors had no business trying to compete at this level. The 92-point output may have been the all-time widest margin ever recorded by a high school team in New Brunswick – and it could have been far worse.

But some Titan veterans can recall “the bad old days” when they were hammered by the Moncton schools. One recalled the team absorbing losses by more than 50 points while your columnist clearly remembers the early days – back in the mid 1970s when losses by 65 points or more was common.

But then the school opted to combine excellence in both academics and athletics. Two teachers, both former standouts with the Mounties – Bruce McMillan and Chris Porter - took charge, recruited some backup and led the team out of the wilderness and onto the road of success.

Grade 10 football Titan Bradley Ogden runs the ball upfield in Saturday's game. Also pictured is Grade 10 quarterback Justin Vogels. PAMELA SCHNEIDER PHOTO

Since the late 70s, the Titans have been a force to be reckoned with, winning their share of championships by outhustling much larger schools with more resources. Mark Bohan, David Burns and now Scott O'Neal have utilized much the same style – devil-may-care with a hard running attack and tough hard-hitting defense to create a reputation as a team to be dealt with.

Over that time, a good many players have risen to the top and gone on to star at higher levels but a question remains - that is, if any running back ever dominated the opposition like Aidan O'Neal. During his brief appearances on Saturday, he notched five touchdowns, had 150 yards from the line of scrimmage and nearly matched that with returns.

But he will be tested to lead the Titans to their second consecutive provincial championship this season. Should they manage to top the local division they will, at some point, have to take on the Lions of Hayes High of Fredericton and this could prove to be a major challenge.

In the meantime, the local minor football association will continue to develop outstanding talent in order to keep the Titans in contention – a major requirement since the number of male students at Tantramar continues to dwindle.

So Titan fans, you will need to be on hand this Saturday at 1 o'clock to add your voices to the cause - giving the Titans "the 13th man on the field."

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