Titans thrash Drake-Anamoose
TOWNER – Late in the second quarter on Tuesday, the TGU football team found itself backpedaling.
The Titans led Drake-Anamoose 13-6, but had just turned the ball over and the Raiders seemed poised to punch in their second score in as many possessions.
But the Titans defense held the Raiders out of the end zone and minutes later, TGU quarterback Eli Luna connected with Colter Thorp for a 53-yard scoring pass with less than 20 seconds remaining before halftime.
The Titans turned that momentum into a 54-24 win in both teams’ season opener.
“That was the turning point,” said TGU head coach Scott Thorson. “We were getting a little worried on the sideline. It was a one possession game and they have the ball going into halftime. We were going to be in for a dogfight. That was probably the key, scoring that touchdown and having the momentum.”
Luna, known as one of the speediest players in 9-man football, showed off his arm, going 9 of 18 passing for 315 yards and six touchdowns.
Thorson said adding more passing to the team’s already explosive running attack has been an emphasis early on.
“We have worked on his throwing game,” he said. “We knew we had to round him out and even (emphasize) that a little more. (Tuesday), with the weather conditions what they were we didn’t want to have him have to run the ball. Once he started connecting the kids started running nice routes and catching the ball.”
Luna isn’t the only explosive player on the Titans. Kendal Green ran for 112 yards on six carries including a 70-yard scoring run in the opening quarter.
Thorp and Hunter Schell combined for more than 225 yards receiving and caught five of Luna’s six touchdown passes.
“We return a nice nucleus of kids,” Thorson said. “We had some biggest hits with kids on the line and we’ve been shuffling around some kids and that’s helped build some depth. We haven’t settled anything yet. Early on, we’re going to depend on the explosiveness of our offense and our defense will hopefully come along.”
Although the Titans lost many of their linemen from last year’s team, which finished 10-1 with a semifinal loss to Divide County, they have one major returner.
Senior lineman Luke Bacon has verbally committed to play at NDSU in the 2014-15 season. But in the meantime, the 6-foot-5, 275 pounder, will be a force for the Titans.
Thorson said Bacon will generally be double- and triple-teamed, leaving opportunities for the rest of the line.
“The kids around him are going to have to get better and take some of the load off him,” Thorson said. “I think we’ll get there eventually. He’s a dominant force in the game. We’ll start each game with seeing how (opponents) try to stop him and we’ll counter with something else.”
Playing in Region 3 with traditional powerhouse Divide County, as well as Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn, which moved down from Class A after finishing state runner-up, Thorson believes the Titans will have their hands full.
Still preseason polls have given the Titans the nod as the favorite.
“We’ve had real competitive regions in the past,” he said. “This year is probably the best we’ve seen as far the quality of the teams you’ll see and how even they are. It’ll probably be a 5-6 teams battling for four playoff spots. You’re not assured anything.”
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