WATERTOWN -- Those who say too many teams are in the playoffs who don't belong could point to Robinson Stadium where Tellico Plains brought three wins and fewer than 20 available players for the Class 2A first-round matchup won by host Watertown 47-8.
The Purple Tigers scored the first two times they had the ball, then had three straight touchdowns in which the offense wasn't even on the field courtesy of two punt returns and a pick-six.
Running back Deramus Carey scored on runs of 2 and 21 yards for a 14-0 getaway.
Then, Quanterrius Hughes-Malone caught a Tellico Plains punt and handed the ball to Kaden Seay, who scooted 60 yards for a 21-0 lead.
Brady Watts returned an interception 60 yards on the final play of the first quarter for a 27-0 lead.
Watertown handed off on another punt as Seay gave the ball to Hughes-Malone, who went 52 yards for a 34-0 lead.
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Tellico Plains, trying to survive in freezing temperatures, didn't record a first down until late in the first quarter and didn't find success moving the ball until executing a successful fake punt in the second period.
That drive ended with an interception by Kai Halbert. Carey scored his third touchdown of the night, from 32 yards, on the next play for a 40-0 lead.
The Bears reached the Tiger 7-yard line before Isaac Finch intercepted a pass in the end zone five seconds before halftime.
The second half saw a running clock as Watertown coach Gavin Webster substituted much of his offense. With Finch playing quarterback, Purple Tiger gains were often wiped out by penalties until his fourth-down 23-yard pass to Halbert set up his 4-yard scoring scamper with less than two minutes to play.
But the Bears went out with a bang as Levi Roberts' halfback pass was complete to a wide-open Major Carter with eight seconds to play to put Tellico Plains on the board as the visitors returned to east Tennessee with a final 3-8 record.
Watertown improved to 9-2 and will play again at Robinson Stadium at 7 p.m. next Friday against Bledsoe County, a 28-6 winner over East Robertson last night.