#CFC50 game preview (NB): No.44 Titans preparing for toughest challenge yet against Purple Knights


The #CFC50 No. 44 Tantramar Titans are looking to keep their solid start to the season rolling as they prepare to take on the Moncton High Purple Knights at home this Friday evening.

Coming off of their dominant 45-0 showing against MacNaughton, the Titans are looking to improve their record to 3-0. Under the guidance of head coach Scott O’Neal, the team is never losing focus of their goal to constantly get better.

Rebounding from their tough week 1 loss to the Riverview Royals, the Purple Knights, led by head coach John Allanach, are coming off a solid 32-14 victory against the Saint John Greyhounds. The Purple Knights won the 12-man league championship just a couple seasons ago, and with the consistent attack they implement on offence, they are always a challenge for opposing defensive fronts.

Titans head coach Scott O’Neal has had a chance to further evaluate his team through the first two games, and although the Titans have gotten off to a fast start with two road victories to begin the season, he knows there are still areas to improve in.

“I would say we’ve played ok,” the Titans’ head coach said. “We haven’t played as physical as I would want us to be playing.”

While the Titans claimed a deciding 40-14 victory against the Harrison Trimble Trojans in week 1 on Trimble’s home field, coach O’Neal wants to see much more out of his team as the season moves forward.

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“Trimble was a lot more physical than I thought they were going to be, but we ended up taking control of the game in the second half,” coach O’Neal said. “We need to play a little bit more physical if we’re going to keep going like we’re going.”

“We’re playing tough, we’ve only played two games and I know coach Teed gave us some good stuff in the paper where he said we physically wore them down, but I wasn’t happy with the way we played physically. I thought we could’ve been much more physical.”

One of the most positive surprises surrounding Tantramar’s 2-0 start is the play of their younger players, a factor that is especially crucial with so many of them being counted on to make key contributions for the Titans this season.

“I’m pleasantly surprised with the play of our young guys,” coach O’Neal said. “We’ve got a couple grade nines and some grade tens in starting positions and they are playing well. That’s always good.”

Another area where the Titans have shown well is in the development of their passing attack, led by first year starting quarterback Jeff Lafford. The Titans’ efficient and effective play in the passing game has given the offence more balance than in year’s past, and coach O’Neal is pleased with the way things are progressing.

“We’re working it in slowly and it’s working, and now we just have to get some more confidence with the passing game,” coach O’Neal said. “And we all know what happens when you get your passing game going: it opens up your run game.”

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When it comes to stopping the Purple Knights on Friday evening, the Titans’ defence will be faced with their toughest challenge so far this season.

“That’s a hard thing,” the Titans’ head coach said. “Moncton High has a well-oiled machine in the run game, and they are starting to mix in a lot more bootlegs and passes so it’s a little more complicated.”

The Purple Knights will look to establish momentum by controlling the pace on offence, and by limiting the opportunities for Tantramar’s star running back Aidan O’Neal and receiver Jacob Hampel.

Coach O’Neal knows what he is up against with the Purple Knights’ offence, and the Titans have taken care of the necessary preparation to make sure their defensive strategy is fine tuned and everyone knows what to look for on game night.

“What worries me about them is once they get that motor running they can really take over a game,” coach O’Neal said. “I think we’ve been working hard to make sure we understand what’s coming at us based on our film work and our practice work. We have a good idea of what they’re going to run when they line up in certain situations.”

This game will undoubtedly be a physical battle for both teams. The end result will be determined by who wins at the line of scrimmage and who can keep their defence off the field.

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“When you play Moncton High it is all about ball possession,” the Titans’ head coach said. “You’ve got to win the time of possession game, if not you’re in big trouble.”

We think that the Titans will find success on offence again this week, and they will bring a much more physical game to their opponent. Friday’s game against the Purple Knights looks to be a much tougher challenge for the Titans’ defence, but Tantramar has the offensive prowess and exceptional offensive line play to win the overall time of possession, and ultimately edge out another victory.

Friday’s NBHSFL matchup between the #CFC50 No. 44 Tantramar Titans and Moncton High Purple Knights is set to kick off at 7 PM at Alumni Field in Sackville, New Brunswick.

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