WARTRACE—A punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return that set up a second score helped Watertown move past Cascade 34-12 on the road Friday night in Wartrace.
Watertown (4-1, 2-0) trailed Cascade (0-4, 0-2) early after the Champions’ Garrett James blocked a punt, scooped and scored from about 20 yards out to take a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Watertown moved the ball to Cascade’s 2-yard line, but a fumble gave the Champions a touchback and another possession to end the Purple Tigers’ next drive.
Following a Cascade three and out, Watertown’s Quanterrius Hughes-Malone fielded the punt and raced 55 yards to give the Purple Tigers a 7-6 lead late in the first.
The Watertown defense forced another three and out that gave the Purple Tigers possession on their own 43-yard line. A play later, Hughes-Malone again found the end zone on a 54-yard touchdown run that extended Watertown’s lead to 14-6.
Cascade put together a lengthy drive to the Watertown 25, but a high snap gave the Purple Tigers possession again after a Jordan Cason fumble recovery at their own 38-yard line.
The ensuing Watertown drive stalled, which gave Cascade possession again, and the Champions put together another drive to their own 39-yard line. Another high snap resulted in a Jordan Carter fumble recovery at the Watertown 24-yard line.
The Purple Tigers took advantage this time as quarterback Brayden Cousino hit Brandon Watts on a 26-yard touchdown pass on fourth down that extended Watertown’s lead to 21-6 just before halftime.
“I just don’t think we played good at all,” said Watertown head coach Gavin Webster said. “…It was just a variety of things. We just didn’t execute well at all tonight…We are lucky to come out with a win.
“Special teams got a punt return tonight, got a big kickoff return down inside the 10 that set up a score. We executed well on special teams tonight. I was pleased with that, but we just had some mental breakdowns tonight that we discussed before the game, and evidentially they didn’t listen.”
Cascade got the ball to open the second half and managed a drive to the Purple Tigers’ 39-yard line before Preston Creswell recovered a Champions’ fumble.
A holding call backed Watertown up to the 49-yard line before Cousino connected with Watts on the pair’s second touchdown pass of the game to give the Purple Tigers a 27-6 lead with 8:07 left in the third.
Cascade answered on the next drive, which was capped off by a 25-yard touchdown run by Seth Countess to cut the lead to 27-12.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, Carter raced 60 yards to give Watertown first and goal at the 5. Deramus Carey ran in the touchdown a play later to increase the Purple Tigers’ lead to 34-12 midway through the third.
Cascade got as close as Watertown’s 15-yard line late in the fourth, but Drew Creswell jumped on a Champions’ fumble, and the Purple Tigers ran out the clock.
Cousino finished the game with 3-of-6 completions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Watts caught both touchdown passes for a total of 75 yards receiving. Hughes-Malone added two touchdowns and finished with 133 all-purpose yards. Carey added 61 yards rushing on 10 carries and a touchdown, but he left the game late in the third with an apparent hip injury.
Watertown returns home Sept. 27 for a matchup with White House. Cascade will travel to face Community.
Watertown 7 14 13 0—34
Cascade 6 0 6 0—12
CS—Garrett James blocked punt (kick failed), 6:43.
WT—Quanterrius Hughes-Malone 55 punt return (Cole Miller kick), 2:28.
WT—Hughes-Malones 54 run (Miller kick), 11:12.
WT—Brandon Watts 26 pass from Brayden Cousino (Miller kick), :37.
WT—Watts 49 pass from Cousino (kick blocked), 8:07.
CS—Seth Countess 25 run (kick failed), 5:19.
WT—Deramus Carey 5 run (Miller kick), 4:58.