Bye-bye postseason

Beef knock Titans out of postseason in first IFL season

OMAHA, Neb.— The little hope that Cedar Rapids had remaining of making the IFL playoffs in its inaugural season officially disappeared as the Titans were eliminated from contention after dropping its eighth game in the last nine, this time a 51-33 loss Friday night at Omaha.

The loss could prove costly for the Titans as quarterback Kenneth Black Jr. was knocked out of the game early in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.

In a disastrous opening sequence following a fumble at the five-yard line that the Titans recovered with the Cedar Rapids trailing 24-20, Colton Hansen was forced to replace Black.

But the first snap to Hansen was muffed, and Omaha’s Peter Buck scooped it up and fell into the end zone to give Omaha a 30-20 lead.

With Hansen at the helm, Cedar Rapids was unable to score any points on offense the rest of the game.

Hansen completed just one of seven passes for no yards.

Cedar Rapids coach Kyle Moore-Brown said Black leaving the game was devastating to his team’s offense.

“You know, just constantly getting him hit,” Moore-Brown said.

“Each week he’s just getting pounded on his same shoulder. It’s not getting any better,” Moore-Brown added.

The Titans cut the lead to 30-27 after Buck’s fumble return when Johnnie King III took the ensuing kickoff 58 yards for a score.

The Titans fell behind just 2:41 into the game when Omaha quarterback James McNear was forced out of the pocket and scrambled 26 yards for a touchdown to put the Beef up 7-0.

After going three-and-out on its first drive of the game, Cedar Rapids responded when TJ Simmons picked off a McNear pass and returned it to the Omaha 18-yard line.

But the Titan offense was unable to convert the turnover into points.

Following two incomplete passes by Black Jr, he was able to find a wide open Christopher Headd in the end zone for what would appear to be an 18-yard score.

But the Titans were flagged for an illegal formation penalty that negated the touchdown as they had just three players on the line of scrimmage.

Simmons was able to stop Omaha’s ensuing drive as he intercepted McNear for the second time in the quarter, falling over the sidewall while retaining possession at the Titans’ two-yard line with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter.

Cedar Rapids was able to capitalize on that interception as the Titans drove 48 yards in eight plays, capped by a 24-yard scoring toss from Black to Eric McCain to tie it at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

Trailing 17-14, quarterback Black was able to guide the offense down the field and find Andre Crenshaw in the end zone from 10 yards out with just 25 seconds remaining in the half.

The Titans had previously failed to eclipse the 20-point mark in a game three times this season—all losses.

The Beef needed almost all of that 25 seconds to grab the lead back, going 37 yards in four plays as McNear hooked up with Judd Harrold on an 11-yard scoring pass with two seconds left in the half and give Omaha a 24-20 halftime lead.

Cedar Rapids outgained the Beef in total yards in the first half 139-114.

The Titans cut the lead to 30-27 after Buck’s fumble return when Johnnie King III took the ensuing kickoff 58 yards for a score.

But the Beef answered going 40 yards in four plays and scored on an eight-yard touchdown pass by McNear to Leroy Banks to put Omaha back up by 10.

Cedar Rapids slashed the Omaha lead to 37-33 with 5:08 left in the third quarter when Eric McCain blocked a 53-yard field goal attempt by Gary Cismesia into the end zone.

After a scramble in the end zone, Devin King emerged with the ball and was credited with the touchdown on the recovery.

The Titans’ road trip will continue at Bloomington Friday as Cedar Rapids tries to avenge a 29-13 loss at home to the Edge.

The 13 points by the Titans was their lowest scoring output of the season, and Cedar Rapids didn’t get an offensive touchdown until the final four minutes of the game.

Cedar Rapids will complete its inaugural season June 16 when the Titans host Nebraska in the first meeting between the teams.


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