RHS Royals come from behind to end the Titans winning streak

New Brunswick’s main event last Friday was a heavy weight bout between long time rival previously ranked CFC 50 TRHS Titans and the Riverview Royals. Swarms of red and black Royal fans traveled nearly an hour east to ‘Sackville to see this years rumble in person, while just as many locals dawning  blue and red filled the rest of the stadium in what was to become a battle that will go down as a classic for both programs.

The Titans hadn’t lost a game in over two years making them the team to beat. Intent on giving them a run for their money Riverview head coach Guy Messervier was hesitant to comment on whether he felt his team was the one that could finally end the streak.

“I don’t know if we have all the pieces to get to the championship game, but we’re trying to put the pieces together and go as far as we can,” he said.

The Titans scored early and often on a downhill run by Jared Prescott and on a Vogels pass to dual threat WR/LB Jack Estabrooks. The teams other touchdown in the first half came off a off a pick 6 by junior defensive back, Owen O’Neal. The Titans special teams unit blocked 2 punts and a convert on the night, but struggled executing their own converts, seeing 2 missed kicks and a failed two pointer.

Surrounded by Titan defenders, and a leaping LB Jack Estabrooks, Grossman completes another pass

The Royals struggled to move the ball until late in the second quarter, with 1:25 remaining Royals QB Logan Grossman led his team on a gutsy drive in hopes of  scoring before half. Playing behind a young and inexperienced OL  tasked with blocking an aggressive Titan defence meant Grossman took a lot of punishment, but on this drive the junior literally got hit on every play. Regardless, he stood poised and calmly dismantled the champs with his stable of WR’s.

“Their D line was really good rushing up field hitting me hard on every one of our plays. I relied on my pocket presence, while only rolling out when I needed to,” explained Logan Grossman on the pressure he took.

With time almost expired, beaten up with over half a field to cover, Grossman dropped back in his collapsed pocket and with a Titan in his face found and passed the perfect strike to WR Cody Barton, who took the ball 55 yards to the house, sending the champs into the locker room with a bloody nose, but still ahead 20-7.

The Royals carried this momentum into the third and fourth scoring 20 unanswered points on a 30 yard pass to WR Jackson Green and a 10 yard bullet to Barton, giving him his second on the night and then a short goal line run by RB Brady Morris found the Royals ahead 27-20.

Royals WR Cody Barton caught 2 TD’s from Grossman who was 15/26, 3 TD’s , 1 interception

Defensively, the Royals seemed a different team after their half time adjustments and the return of captain Aidan Steves, who missed most of the third for a lower body injury.  The Royals, subdued the Titan’s run, while QB Vogels and company had a hard time getting anything going thru the air.

It was late in the fourth on a series after a decent Titan drive ended with Aidan Steves picking off Vogels that the sophomore QB played his best. Vogels led a brilliant drive connecting with multiple receivers all across the field, eventually hitting a wide open Oliver Longpre, making the score 27-26 with 4.6 seconds on the clock.

Having missed both single point converts earlier in the game meant the Titans kept their offence on the field to go for the win. Vogels connected with Longpre again for what felt like the win, but an offside meant they had to do it again. This time the Royals immediately pressured Vogels, who calmly scrambled with his eyes scanning the endzone. With red and black closing in Vogels bolted for the corner of the end zone where he dove past a final defender hoping to cross the threshold to give his team the win furthest from the players bench. The last I saw of him from the player’s sideline, was him diving into the opposite corner of the field where he was lost among a swarming wall of blue and red jerseys.

Justin Vogels 15/27, 2TD’s, 1 interception

Riverview defenders reacted as though they stopped Vogels, which caused their bench to rush the field. Their fans, as loud as they come, began flooding  toward the field. Tantramar players emerged from the pile of bodies on the goal line and signaled to their bench the convert was good, resulting in a swarm of Titans rushing the field, believing they had won. The Titans faithful, as r-o-w-d-i-e (‘that’s the way we spell rowdy’) as they come also began emptying the stands to celebrate on the field.

The only group not moving were both coaching crews, one side signalling no good, the other with up right arms, each indicating, and hoping they’d won. Finally a ref stood in the centre of the end zone and motioned no good, the result was a second eruption on the Royals sideline, ecstatic with their 27-26 win.

“In terms of the final play I am sure that I got in, I didn’t see the ref signal TD, but it was pretty chaotic down there,” said Vogels.

For the Titans the loss stings most, not because it stopped their streak, but for the simple reason they lost to Riverview. For Riverview, the win means they are now the top contender to knock them out of the playoffs.

This game was legendary even before the final drive. The game was loaded with explosive offences and hard but clean hits, some so massive you could hear despite the intense and at times tumultuous crowd. This game ending with a controversial call was just the gravy on the bird, no doubt solidifying the mutual respect and hate these teams have for each other, something I, and the football Gods are thankful for.

 

A RHS coach awaiting the call motions ‘no good’

 

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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