JACK’S BACK AS PIRATES’ TENACIOUS D ROCKS MANCHESTER
June 26th, 2019
Report by Kerr Girvan
Photos courtesy Anna Smith and Mark McGillivray
It’s been a long way back for Pirates’ running back Jack Cochrane, who was injured on only his 2nd carry in the very first game of the season. So the return of last season’s MVP was a welcome one for EKP, and their determined and dogged defense made sure it was a winning one.
Indeed Cochrane, playing as defensive end was an integral part of that unit, helping himself to three sacks with his unplayable pass rushing throughout the day. But every, single player in that depleted squad that travelled down south played their part. Everyone a hero, a team that played together and won together.
Make no mistake, this wasn’t just a fantastic game of American football. This. Was. A. War.
Titans kicked off knowing anything less than a win would dash their play-off hopes and their initial on-side kick clearly showed their intentions. They actually successfully recovered the ball, but a flag for offside meant a retake, which this time, sailed into the end zone. They didn’t have to wait long to have the ball back however, as Pirates opening drive resulted in a punt.
Again Manchester wasted no time and drove down the field with powerful rushing from back Sean Adeyemi, breaking tackles and taking the ball in for a 27 yard TD. Max Gracie-Ainscough added the successful PAT kick and Titans took an early 7-0 lead.
The Pirates retaliated on their next drive, a Titans penalty and some great gains from receiver Christian Rubuga took them down to the 7-yard line. Two plays later and back Rory Hutton picked his way through the big blue wrecking crew for the TD. QB Scott McKigen held the ball to run in the 2PAT. Titans 7 – 8 Pirates.
From the kick-off, the Titans undiluted urgency again hit the Pirates hard. QB Ben Miles went to the air immediately and hit Gracie-Ainscough for a 68 yard TD. This time the PAT kick drifted by the right hand upright and Titans again led at 13-8.
The teams then exchanged punts on the subsequent drives to finish the first quarter.
EKP’s drive at the start of the 2nd also resulted in a punt, but this time it was blocked and Titans now had a strong field position at the 35-yard line. They pushed hard to get 1st and goal and it was Adeyemi that again broke through for his 2nd TD. Manchester faked the kick and ran in for a 2PAT, stretching their lead. Titans 21 – 8 Pirates.
A solid kick-off return from receiver Michael Paton, set up EKP’s next drive. Paton then made a good catch for another 31 yards, which combined with another 25 yards worth of penalties from Titan’s D-Line, took the Pirates down to 1st and goal on the 2. Some great work in the trenches from the outstanding O-Line, opened up some holes and Greg Black dived in for the score. The 2PAT came courtesy of brother Matt and EKP reduced the deficit to 21-16.
Solid work from the EKP defense forced a 4 and out from the Titans and gave their offense the ball back just on the two-minute warning in the half. The Pirates reliable running game was making small gains but it was now their turn to hurry things up and try to get the go-ahead score before the clock ran out.
A beautiful play action fake from McKigen suckered in the Titan’s secondary and left receiver Paton wide open to collect the 29-yard pass. Titans 21 – 22 Pirates. End of the half.