The Marauders scored first on a touchdown run by Richard Dean, but Brandon Loyd of the Titans would return the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to immediately tie it back up.
When Midway got the ball again, they began to dig themselves in a bit of a hole as quarterback Andre Lock was sacked and fumbled in the end zone, which the Titans recovered for another touchdown and a momentum swing.
Following their touchdown, Tri-Town lined up for an onside kick, which they recovered. With the ball and the momentum in the hands of the Titans, things weren’t looking well at all for the Marauders, until defensive end Tremaine Berry intercepted a pass and returned it for a Midway touchdown and a spark of life.
“The pick six really gave us our momentum back,” Marauders owner Chris Mathews told Developmental Football USA. “Our guys came in with high emotions and felt like we were the better team no matter what, but they came out more focused than us and we weren’t playing our brand of football. When we got the pick six, we kind of woke up and it was all uphill from there.”
The Titans led 18-16 at halftime, but the Marauders would come out for the second half looking like a completely different team.
“It was a preseason game, so we wanted to make sure we got all three of our squads in there,” Titans owner Travis Brooks told Developmental Football USA. “We got our third stringers in there and ended up losing the game. It’s not a big deal. Now we know who starts and who doesn’t. It was definitely an intense game.”
Running back Vonte Smith helped fuel the Marauders rally with a touchdown run, followed by two touchdown passes from Lock to his wide outs – one a 50-yarder to Jermel Smith and a 20-yarder to Denzel Whitaker. Smith capped it off with a 12 yard touchdown run as Midway put together 26 unanswered points and secured the win.
“Our potential, I honestly think, even though we’re a first year team, I think we are the best team in this league from a talent perspective and how much work we put in,” Mathews said. “That win showed us we still have a few things to iron out, but we still have a ways to go to be great. We can compete with and even beat some of the teams that have been around for years. The team we played against last night was supposed to be one of the best teams in this league. We still have work to do, though, we can always improve.”
Defensively, Quinel Johnson and Carl Young each intercepted a pass and Denzel Whitaker and Vontae Lashley registered three sacks a piece and the Marauders had 11 on the night. Young, Johnson, Berry and Cameron Hall also had sacks on the night for Midway.
“We got to see what we wanted to see from our first stringers and got to see what we have behind them if someone goes down,” Brooks said. “We followed our game plan and the outcome wasn’t what we want, of course, but we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing to prepare ourselves for the season. All in all it went very well. There were 350 people here so I was impressed. This is just the beginning for us so I’m looking forward to building on it and kicking the season off for real March 4th against the Cincinnati Flex.”
The Marauders take the field again on Feb. 11 against the Oak Park Sharks in a charity game.
“Both teams came together to make it a charity game,” Mathews said. “There’s a group called Protect the Shorties in Chicago. It’s a big brother program for kids that don’t have fathers, so we’re having the game for them and all proceeds go to them. We’ll have an autograph session for the kids, a photo session and framed jerseys for the kids.”
Both teams will meet again during their Midwest Professional Indoor Football League schedule.