Yellow Jackets advance to 2A semifinals -

WATERTOWN -- Trousdale County utilized a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust rushing attack and didn’t attempt a single pass in a 21-13 win over Watertown Friday in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs.

The game at Robinson Stadium has become tradition for the region rivals to meet a second time in the state playoffs. The Yellow Jackets also defeated the Purple Tigers 22-19 in 2019 and 15-8 in 2018 in the quarterfinal round.

Watertown saw their 10-game win streak snapped and still haven't advanced past the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs in school history.

Trousdale County (11-2) now moves on to play host to Meigs County (12-0), which defeated South Greene (12-1) 42-14, in a semifinal matchup next Friday.

“They dominated the line of scrimmage,” said Watertown coach Gavin Webster, who was without his defensive coordinator Josh Hackett due to COVID-19 quarantine.

“Hat’s off to them. We got beat by a better ball team tonight. We made some mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot some on execution. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.

“I guess you could say they played a perfect game. You don’t see too many high school football games where they don’t have any penalties. They didn’t have any penalties, and we had some. They executed, and we didn’t. They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We came up short. We still had some opportunities. You can’t make mistakes against a good football team and expect to win.”

It appeared Watertown (11-2) had a comeback brewing at the start of the fourth quarter.

Trailing 21-13, the Purple Tigers’ defense forced a three and out and got the ball back on the Yellow Jackets’ 44-yard line.

Twelve plays later, Watertown faced fourth and goal from the 8-yard line when Trousdale County’s Cameron Rankins picked off a Brayden Cousino pass in the end zone. The Yellow Jackets went on to run out the clock, picking up five first downs on their final drive to end the game.

The Purple Tigers took their second drive 64 yards on 11 plays, capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cousino to Quanterrius Hughes-Malone that gave Watertown a 7-0 lead midway through the first.

Watertown’s only lead of the game lasted less than three minutes after Trousdale County’s ensuing drive ended with a Rankins 19-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7-7.

After the Tigers failed to convert on fourth and long after a series of penalties, Trousdale County capitalized on am 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Rankins second touchdown of the night from 2 yards out that gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-7 lead with 30 seconds left in the second.

Watertown’s drive looked promising but stalled with an incomplete pass at the TC 23-yard line as time ran out in the first half.

The 'Jackets took the opening kickoff of the second half went 65 yards on seven plays, as Rankins scored his third touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run that gave the his team a 21-7 lead with 8:14 left in the third.

Watertown responded with a 73-yard, nine-play drive of its own that ended with a Cousino-to-Hughes-Malone touchdown connection from 26 yards out that narrowed the gap to 21-13 midway through the third. The PAT kick failed. The rest of the game went scoreless for both teams.

Cousino finished 11-of-20 passing with 146 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also added 61 yards on 10 rushes.

Jordan Cason ran for 69 yards on 17 carries. Hughes-Malone finished with nine receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Rankins led the Yellow Jackets with 30 carries for 158 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on defense.

Despite the three-straight losses to Trousdale County in the quarterfinals, Webster remains optimistic for the future.

“We’ve got a good core group coming back,” he said. “We lost some very good seniors. We’ve got some question marks to fill. We’ll just go from there.”

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