WESTMORELAND -- On the first Friday night that actually felt like football weather, Watertown raced past Westmoreland 35-0.
As many locals will tell you, playing at Westmoreland can be very challenging. Watertown faced some adversity and overcame a very disappointing first half by the offense. Despite leading 21-0 at the break, the Purple Tigers had almost 100 yards in penalties and several key drops on offense. The game wasn't put away at this point, although it probably should have been. Coach Gavin Webster said his offense played hard, but not very well. The defense, which was a story all night, and special teams helped carry the Tigers early. Westmoreland managed just one first down and 28 total yards in the first half and 66 for the entire game.
Quanterrius Hughes-Malone was the one-man highlight in the first half, scoring two of the Tigers' three touchdowns - one on defense and one on special teams. The first happened late in the first quarter, when an Eagles running back fumbled the ball and Hughes-Malone picked it up and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Watertown went on a 15 play, 48-yard drive capped off by a Deramus Carey 1-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes to play in the first half. It was 14-0 Tigers at that point. The stingy Tigers defense then forced a three-and-out before Hughes-Malone returned the ensuing punt 67 yards for a Tigers touchdown. Hughes-Malone finished the game with five receptions for 83 yards and two non-offensive touchdowns.
Watertown's offense played better in the second half, on its way to 310 yards of total offense. The Purple Tigers took the ball 75 yards on nine plays and a touchdown. Quarterback Brayden Cousino dove into the end zone from the 1-yard line on third and goal. Watertown moved out to a 28-0 lead. Cousino was 15-of-20 through the air for 205 yards and a rushing touchdown. He was intercepted once in the end zone on a fourth down and long,
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serving just as good as a punt would.
Watertown added a late score when Carey scored his second touchdown of the night. The play may have been more intended to run time off of the clock, but Carey broke a few tackles and carried the ball 19 yards to the end zone. Carey finished the game with 114 total yards and two touchdowns.
Westmoreland coach Chad Perry was not pleased with the late score. After the game, Perry met Webster at midfield in a heated, emotionally charged exchange. Security from both sides help separate the two groups.
"He was upset we scored late," Webster said. "I ran the ball. I guess I could have taken a knee. We really needed something positive offensively. We had been struggling all night, and they were a big part of that. It was a basic dive play. I never would have thought he would score. I figured they would have tackled him, and we would go to the house. But they didn't. Perry got upset. I've been on that flipside before. He was blowing off steam. It just is what it is."
Perry was not available for comment after the game.
Watertown has a bye week during fall break and will face Jackson County on Oct. 17 in Gainesboro (2-5, 0-3).
Watertown won its their fifth straight game and improved its record to 6-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in Region 4-2A, while Westmoreland's record slipped to 4-3, 1-2.