Second-half Titans win league title

by Brent W. New preps@gazette.com - Published: October 24, 2013 | 10:50 pm 0

For much of the night, Jantzen Ryals was hurried from the pocket and threw passes behind his receivers.

But when it mattered most, the senior quarterback was the best player on the field.

Ryals tossed two touchdowns, both coming on third-and-longs, and for the ninth time this season TCA outscored its opponent in the second half to beat visiting Pueblo County 17-8 Thursday night.

The Titans (7-2 overall, 4-0 3A Southern League) wrapped up the league title with the win.

"It's been a great season," said Ryals, who went 8-for-18 passing for 67 yards. "We have done some good things and hopefully we aren't done yet."

As temperature became colder on senior night, the Titans' seniors finally started to warm up.

In the second half, Ryals hit senior Andrew Register on a 10-yard screen pass for a touchdown late in the third quarter, before senior Kyle Jacobs grabbed two interceptions in the fourth quarter and then buried a 27-yard field goal to make it 17-8 with 5:27 remaining.

"No matter if we've won or lost, we have won the second half every time this season. Our offense and defensive coaches have been amazing setting us up to succeed after the half . after adjustments," TCA coach David Bervig said. "They set it up and our kids have executed. It's been a great year for that."

Pueblo County (4-4, 2-2) came in averaging more than 20 points per game with its bruising rush attack but could only manage a 4-yard touchdown from Joe Romero midway through the second quarter after starting the drive on the Titans' 34.

"Our defense is the reason we are here. No question," said Ryals, alluding to a TCA defense that gave up only one score despite an 11-minute drive in the first half and a 9-minute drive in the second half by the Hornets. "We owe them a bunch."

In the first half, Ryals hit senior Jake Frankmore on a fade rout in the back of the end zone to cut the deficit to 8-7 with 3:30 left before the break.

TCA held the Hornets to less than 100 yards of offense after that.

"We came in and knew we had to shut them down to give our offense a chance," Jacobs said. "We have the best coaches behind us and they put us in great spots to win the game."

The coaching staff proved to have a lot of faith in their players all night long, including sending Jacobs out for a 58-yard field goal late in the first half, which the senior missed by maybe only a yard or two.

"If it was 55 he would have nailed it," Bervig said. "We know we have the players to make great plays."

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