SACKVILLE, N.B. – Tantramar football fans had the privilege of viewing much of the team they will be following next season here on Saturday as their Titans barely worked up a sweat in toppling the winless Harrison Trimble Trojans 41-0 to wrap up regular play in the New Brunswick High School Football League.
Out front by 27 points after the opening quarter, they added 14 more before half time and used second and third stringers throughout the final 24 minutes.
The victory left the Titans with a 6-1 record at the top of their pool. They also posted a record defensive campaign by permitting just 49 points to the opposition for a game average of seven.
Again it was defense that shut the door. Other than penalties, the visitors managed just one first down and were seldom able to spend time in the Titan end of the field.
The true highlight of the afternoon came thanks to a deal by the two teams that showed great cooperation amongst the two schools.
Midway through the final quarter, Titan Tom Lafford came onto the field and jogged 38 yards to a touchdown. The young man, who was born with autism, was in “seventh heaven” as he crossed into the end zone with the help of the Trimble defensive corps.
The points were not recorded on the clock, but the joy shown by the young man and the cooperation shown by the two teams made it all worthwhile.
The Titans, as usual, were unstoppable, scoring on three of their first four possessions, managing to run and pass with ease. However, the visitors forced them to punt twice during the game while they turned the ball over on unsuccessful third-down gambles.
In the first quarter alone, Oliver Longpre ran for 120 yards and Jared Prescott fought for another 63 as the starters remained until the game was won. During that stretch, Longpre got things underway with a 68-yard sweep to the end zone and added his second on a 15-yard jaunt. Prescott picked up touchdowns on runs of two and six yards.
During the second half, fans got to see Titans like Colin Mullin, Bradley Ogden, Owen O’Neal and Mason Prescott run the ball, while some of those who will be picking up the torch in 2018 included Adryon Thompson, Joe Carpenter, Jaycob Johannsen, Evan Phinney and Jory Parsons.
Defensively, this younger group managed to hold the visitors off the scoreboard, while obtaining some valuable playing time.
Twelve seniors were introduced at the opening of the game – those who will not be with the team in 2018. T
his is down slightly from the 15 who graduated from last year’s team but still many of the leading lights will be gone. On this list: linemen Kyle Trenholm, Nicolas Savoie, Riley Tower, Alex Hall and Ryan Cadman. Others will be Jared Prescott, Colin Mullin, MacKenzie Beal, Jeff Lafford, Jack Estabrooks, Zach Lloyd and Devin Mullin.
But the outstanding coaching staff, led by Scott O’Neal, Peter Estabrooks and David Burns, has been successful in rebuilding strong teams year after year – so much so that their victory on Saturday was the 25th in 26 attempts.
Their lone loss was by a single point to Riverview, which could prove costly since if they happen to meet in the playoffs, the one point would give the Royals home field advantage.
Playoffs will begin this Saturday but as this is being written the draw hasn’t been announced.
However, the Titans will have early home field advantage after having taken first place in their pool.
It’s expected fan turnout for the post-season playoffs will continue to surge as indicated by the huge number out on Saturday for a game they knew would be a victory for Titans.