Same story, new team: Titans win another blowout

O'Donnell's homecoming spoiled by strong defensive showing

CEDAR RAPIDS – Both teams began taking off their helmets, shaking hands and wishing each other well. It’s a postgame tradition at any level. It’s not part of the tradition to do it with the clock stopped and 14.6 seconds remaining.

The Wyoming Cavalry couldn’t get out of the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena fast enough. Directly below the clock displayed the soon to be final score, 54-12.

“They were mad, they said that their coach gave up, but he wanted to get out of here without any injuries. That’s a good move for him. It’s early in the season for them,” defensive end Xzavie Jackson said. “They’re going to get things rolling.”

For the second straight week at home, the Titans (4-0) had it rolling throughout the game. Cedar Rapids held a 24-0 lead at the half. On the second play of the third quarter, the Titans increased the lead to 30-0 over Wyoming.

This came a week after the offense posted 60 against Texas.

The difference against Wyoming (0-1) was the defense.

“We’ve been working real hard defensively,” Titans head coach Mark Stoute said. “We’ve been working hard. We’ve got some nice stunts. We’ve got a nice flow going with it and the guys are really starting to buy into our defensive front.”

The havoc started on the line where the Titans tallied six sacks. The constant pressure never allowed hometown product Barney O’Donnell to get comfortable. The Cedar Rapids Washington graduate finished 6 of 17 passing for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also fumbled and got called for intentional grounding in the endzone resulting in a safety.

Friday marked his first start at quarterback in his hometown in seven years. His final attempt in the homecoming landed in the hands of Michael Graise, a Titan corner, after Jackson plowed toward O’Donnell in the backfield.

“My boy Xzavie, man, was causing some havoc back there,” Graise said. “He was just throwing it up.”

The Titans’ defense ruined O’Donnell’s return and Wyoming’s season opener. Cedar Rapids held the Cavalry to 89 yards of total offense. At half time that number stood at a meager 13 yards.

“I think we let down a little bit in the second half, mental focus on defense. We only gave up two touchdowns, but both of them were mental mistakes,” Stoute said. “So there’s things there we can improve upon.”

While Stoute continues to search for that perfect 60 minutes of football, his offense has served up seven outstanding quarters. During the span the Titans have posted 111 points.

Charles McCullum returned after missing last week’s game with an injury to his elbow. He finished with 88 yards passing and a touchdown. He also ran for 35 yards and a score.  Laron Council led the team with three scores on seven carries. He totaled 36 yards rushing.

McCullum found himself on the bench done for the night early in the third quarter with his team up 30-0. After his rushing touchdown, he appeared on the video board and blew kisses to the fans, and signaled that he loved them.

Jackson enjoyed the same type of fun earlier in the game singing a country music song from the same spot on the bench.

As the Titans roll into a double bye week at 4-0, outscoring opponents 213-116, there are more than a few smiles on the sidelines.

“We love this game, that’s why we’re here playing it,” Jackson said. “It don’t matter who we got with us, we just gotta have fun. And we have fun? 4-0 is the result.”

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