WATERTOWN — Jo Byrns didn’t spoil a special night as Purple Tiger Nation said goodbye to Robinson Stadium.
But the Red Devils did get what they came after – a 38-30 victory in Watertown’s final game on the 88-year-old field.
The final play on the field was Jo Byrns quarterback Kevin Adkins running out the final seven seconds before taking a knee with time expired. But a fracas broke out at the final buzzer, leading to the ejection of a Purple Tiger who will likely have to sit out a one-game suspension when Watertown returns from its bye week Oct. 25 at Goodpasture.
“Both teams played hard tonight,” Watertown coach Gavin Webster said after his Tigers fell to 2-6 with road trips to Goodpasture and Jackson County remaining in 2013. “You hate for something like that at the end of a ballgame to happen.
“We don’t condone stuff like that and we take pride in not getting personal fouls, not getting ejected. We just don’t believe in it.”
While generations of Purple Tigers [players, coaches, cheerleaders, homecoming queens, etc.] were honored on the field at halftime during a moving tribute by Bill Jewell, Adkins was running for 91 yards [he had over 100 before running out the clock] and two scores and passed for 192 more and a touchdown to help the Red Devils pull away to a 38-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
After Ty Jobe hooked up with Brandon George for a 25-yard touchdown on a middle screen pass, Jo Byrns was driving for a final knockout score when Dakota Self hit Adkins just as he was releasing the ball, popping it up in the air. Safety Austin Brown snagged the ball and raced 92 yards to pull the Purple Tigers within 38-30 and give Tiger Nation hope that there was still magic in the famed Hedges with 2:48 left.
But Zack Andavazo caught his second straight onside kick from Powell and Jo Byrns, with no timeouts remaining for Watertown, ran out the clock as the Red Devils improved to 4-3.
“We had some good things happen and some bad things happen,” Webster said. “We had more bad things to happen to us.”
Those bad things happened during the first 16 minutes of the second half when Adkins ran for a 1-yard score, passed for a 19-yarder to Parker Baxley after escaping the Tiger rush and handed to Brian Smith for a 2-yard score on the first three drives of the second half to turn a 16-14 edge into a 38-14 blowout.
“We came out the second half down two points knowing we got to stop and it’s like we didn’t come out of the locker room,” Webster said. “They got two offensive drives and they go up two touchdowns before we get anything offensively going.
“Again, trying to overcome mistakes.”
Both teams had drives to begin the game, but both ended on downs.
But on Watertown’s second series, Jobe found an open George who took it down the right sideline for an 84-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Jobe completed 5 of 9 passes for 158 yards, with four of the completions going to George for 156 yards.
Jo Byrns came back with Adkins scoring on a 1-yard run. Bales’ two-point run put the Red Devils up 8-7 early in the second quarter.
Watertown drove 65 yards in the other direction to Self’s 4-yard run around the right side for a 14-8 lead 5:24 before halftme.
Adkins’ 76-yard pass to Baxley left the ball on the 1-yard line from where Bales scored. Adkins’ two-point run put the Red Devils up 16-14 going into halftime.
Jo Byrns outgained Watertown 417 yards to 281 and picked up 20 first downs to the Tigers’ 18.
The loss left the Tigers with a 486-375-26 record home and away for 88 seasons which began with a 1926 visit from Shop Springs, a long-ago closed school which was located halfway between Watertown and Lebanon. Webster is WHS’ 23rd coach.
Jo Byrns 38, Watertown 30
Jo Byrns 0 16 14 8—38
Watertown 7 7 0 16—30
Watertown — Brandon George 84 pass from Ty Jobe [Chandler Powell kick], :50.
Jo Byrns — Kevin Adkins 1 run [John Bales run], 9:44.
Watertown — Dakota Self 4 run [Powell kick], 5:24.
Jo Byrns — Bales 1 run [Adkins run], 3:19.
Jo Byrns — Adkins 1 run [Jake Hyde run], 8:30.
Jo Byrns — Parker Baxley 19 pass from Adkins [run failed], 3:28.
Jo Byrns — Brian Smith 2 run [Adkins run], 8:27.
Watertown — George 25 pass from Jobe [Jobe run], 6:18.
Watertown — Austin Brown 92 interception return [Devin High run], 2:48.
Jo Byrns Watertown
First downs 20 1
—Rushing 15 8
—Passing 5 10
—Penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 47-225 34-123
Passing yards 192 158
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-13-1 5-9-0
Punts-avg. 0-0 2-45.0
Penalties-yards 2-20 5-44
Fumbles lost 0 1
RUSHING — Jo Byrns: Jake Hyde 6-67, John Bales 16-61, Brian Smith 2-6, Kevin Adkins 23-91. Watertown: Dakota Self 12-43, Luke Turner 10-32, Ty Jobe 11-41, Devin High 1-7.
PASSING — Jo Byrns: Kevin Adkins 8-13-1—192. Watertown: Ty Jobe 5-9-0—158.
RECEIVING — Jo Byrns: Zack Andavazo 3-61, Parker Baxley 3-105, Jake Hyde 1-20, John Bales 1-6. Watertown: Brandon George 4-156, Devin High 1-2.