WATERTOWN—Much like the Watertown and Trousdale County matchup in week 3 ended in a three-point difference, 16-13, in favor of the Purple Tigers, this time the Yellow Jackets prevailed in the state Class 2A quarterfinal rematch 22-19 Friday night at Robinson Stadium.
Trousdale County (12-1) will move on to face Meigs County (12-1) in a state semifinal matchup on the road in Decatur. Meigs County defeated Oneida 49-21 to advance to the Class 2A semifinal round.
Watertown ended its season at 10-3, but its senior class collected the most wins of any in school history.
“We’ve got a bunch of fighters,” said Watertown head coach Gavin Webster. “They didn’t quit. They gave themselves an opportunity, and that’s all you can ask for. There’s not a better group. They’ve never laid down once this year. Coming into this season, this group of seniors and this football team had a big question mark. We didn’t know what they could do.
“Nobody thought we’d be playing in the quarterfinals with a chance to go to the semifinals. We didn’t make it happen, but it proved that they are a bunch of fighters. They gave it all they could out here tonight.”
Watertown trailed 14-13 early in the fourth when the Purple Tigers launched an eight-play, 66-yard drive, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run from senior tailback Deramus Carey to give Watertown a 19-14 lead after the two-point try failed.
On its next possession, Trousdale County faced fourth and 9 at the Watertown 43-yard line. The Yellow Jackets lined up to punt, but quarterback Cameron Rankins took the short snap on a fake and picked up 11 yards and a first down. Four plays later, Rankins finished the drive on a 4-yard touchdown run and passed to Kyle Shockley to add the two-point conversion, which gave Trousdale County a 22-19 lead with 4:17 left in the game.
Watertown turned the ball over on downs at midfield on its next possession, but the Purple Tigers’ defense held Trousdale County to a three and out. Watertown’s Braxton Swann blocked the ensuing punt, which gave the Purple Tigers the ball at Trousdale County’s 30-yard line with about two minutes left in the game.
Three plays later, Trousdale County’s Aaron Pickett came down with an interception on a jump ball intended for Elijah Williams, which effectively ended the game.
Watertown’s second possession resulted in a Purple Tigers 7-0 lead after sophomore quarterback Brayden Cousino hit Brandon Watts on a slant route for a 21-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
Trousdale County answered two plays into the second as tailback Kobe Ford ran in a 14-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
Both teams traded punts twice before Cousino took a designed quarterback draw up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown run late in the second to give Watertown a 13-7 lead after Trousdale County’s Jay’Dynn Hayward blocked the point-after try.
On the second play of the fourth, Rankins scored on a 2-yard touchdown run that gave Trousdale County a 14-13 lead.
Both Watertown and Trousdale County were nearly even on offense. The Yellow Jackets had 254 total yards, all rushing, to Watertown’s 229 total yards.
Cousino finished the game with 12-of-22 completions for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception passing and 49 yards rushing on 11 carries and one touchdown on the ground for Watertown. Carey had 17 carries for 67 yards, 116 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. Quanterrius Hughes-Malone had four receptions for 45 yards, and Watts had four receptions for 42 yards and one touchdown.
Brady Watts and Williams each recorded one interception apiece on defense for the Purple Tigers.
Trousdale County 0 7 0 15—22
Watertown 7 6 0 6—19
WT—Brandon Watts 21 pass from Brayden Cousino (Cole Miller kick), 3:18.
TC—Kobe Ford 14 run (Heath Chase kick), 11:12.
WT—Cousino 60 run (kick blocked), 3:50.
TC—Cameron Rankins 2 run (Chase kick), 11:15.
WT—Deramus Carey 3 run (pass failed), 7:44.
TC—Rankins 4 run (Kyle Shockley pass from Rankins), 4:17.