Purple Tigers move to 9-2

WATERTOWN -- Watertown dominated Tellico Plains in all aspects of the game and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs with a 47-8 win over the Bears Friday at Robinson Stadium.

The Purple Tigers (9-2) will host Bledsoe County (8-3) in a second-round playoff game Friday, Nov. 15. The Warriors defeated East Robertson 28-6 to advance to the second round.

Watertown head coach Gavin Webster said he was proud of the Purple Tigers in the first-round win against Tellico Plains.

“I think we played great tonight on both sides of the ball,” Webster said. “I thought we executed well offensively; we had two punt returns on special teams and had one interception on defense for a return. Our young kids got to play the second half, so anytime you can do that, and they can get in and play some defense and get them a score, I just thought overall we played well tonight.”

Watertown tailback Deramus Carey touched the ball four times in the first half and scored three touchdowns.

The first two came as exclamation points on the Purple Tigers’ first possessions from 2 and 21 yards out, respectively.

The third, a 33-yard touchdown run, came late in the second. Carey finished the half with four carries for 61 yards and didn’t play after intermission.

Late in the first, Watertown’s Quanterrius Hughes-Malone fielded a Bears’ punt and lateraled to Kaden Seay, who raced 59 yards for a touchdown to give Watertown a 21-0 lead.

On the Bears’ next possession, Brady Watts intercepted a pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the first quarter.

The Watertown defense forced another three and out on Tellico Plains’ next possession to force a punt. This time, Seay returned the favor when he lateraled to Hughes-Malone, who went 52 yards for a touchdown to give the Purple Tigers a 34-0 lead early in the second. Watertown took a 40-0 lead into halftime.

It appeared as if Tellico Plains might score just before halftime, but an interception by Watertown’s Isaac Finch in the end zone kept the Bears scoreless.

With the clock running, the third flew by quickly as each team managed one possession apiece.

Early in the fourth, Watertown managed a sustained drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper ny Finch to extend the lead to 47-0.

But Tellico Plains was determined not to make the three-hour return trip home without a score.

On the first play of the Bears’ last possession, senior center Kolton Stakely lined up at guard, took a handoff and rumbled 10 yards. That set up a 44-yard halfback pass from Levi Roberts to Major Carter for a touchdown with eight seconds left on the clock. Stakely then faked an extra-point try and ran in a two-point conversion.

For Watertown, starting quarterback Brayden Cousino completed 5-of-6 passes for 89 yards, all in the first half.

Finch completed both his pass attempts in the second half for 34 yards and added a rushing touchdown and an interception on defense.

Hughes-Malone had one carry for 20 yards, 72 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Wideout Brandon Watts caught two passes for 33 yards, and Elijah Williams caught a pair of passes for 38 yards.

Kai Halbert caught one pass for 23 yards and recorded an interception on defense to give him 40 all-purpose yards on the night.

Despite the blowout, Webster said his team still has work to do to get ready for a visit from Bledsoe County on Friday.

“We’ve got to shore up some things and get better as a football team,” Webster said. “We’ve got to keep getting better and get ready for them. Anytime you can play at home in front of your hometown crowd, it helps.”

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