WATERTOWN — Near the end of the hardest week the team will ever face, Watertown took out its grief on Westmoreland in a 42-0 wipeout Friday night at Robinson Stadium.
A pregame moment of silence was held in memory of WHS senior Keon Dotson, a former player who drowned in Old Hickory Lake last Saturday. His teammates brought out the No. 6 jersey Dotson wore before leaving the team to work and help support his mother.
Once the game began, Westmoreland, which came in with a 5-1 record, was no match for the now 7-0 Purple Tigers, who scored on all six first-half possessions as the Eagles lost three fumbles and botched a punt snap.
“It’s been a tough week for the guys, a tough week for the community, a tough week for the school,” Watertown coach Gavin Webster said. “We came out and we took care of business. Guys just played a great ballgame offensively and defensively. Proud of them for that. Young men – 16-, 17-year-olds – you never know what’s in their minds and things could have went the opposite direction. But they had a mission to finish this game, finish it good, and they did that.”
Quarterback Heath Price ran for 136 yards on 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 7, 28 and 12 yards. He also completed 8 of 11 passes for 79 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to Brandon Allison in the final minute of the first half. Price also ran for a two-point conversion and threw to Zach Hill for another. After handing off on the first series of the second half, he retired for the night.
Running back Deramus Carey went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season with 110 on 14 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown leap and a 33-yard run, all in the first half as the Tigers took the eventual final score into the locker room.
Watertown’s defense allowed just one first-half first down (on a penalty) and surrendered three for the night as the Eagles finished with 95 total yards, mostly in the second half against the Tiger reserves. The visitors got as close as the WHS 6-yard line in the closing moments. But a holding penalty backed Westmoreland up and then the running clock expired.
The Tiger takeaways were by middle linebacker Gentry Wall, cornerback Elijah Maklary and Allison on a kickoff, giving Watertown consecutive possessions which the home team capitalized on.
A week of rain left the field soggy, resulting in wet balls which may have affected both teams.
“It was a little slippery trying to get around the edges, I noticed that on us a couple of times and them a couple of times,” Webster said. “The ball, it was wet out here. I’ve seen it worse and thought it would be worse. We were able to get on it today at 11:30 and mow it down a little bit and start painting on it about 12. From where I thought it was going to be, it’s a lot further along. I thought it was going to be a lot worse than what it is.”
Now, the Tigers will let the field dry out while they take a week off from football before returning to action at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at home against Jackson County, when starting quarterback Bryce Webster is due to return from a broken collarbone. But first, they will gather at the school this afternoon for Dotson’s funeral and burial. The tragedy has brought support from the Watertown community and the Wilson County community, including from once-rival schools.
“This is a great community,” Webster said of Watertown. “I’ve never seen a community pull together for their kids and their teams as Watertown does.
“Wilson County, just overall Wilson County, just an outpour of gratitude we’ve had from Wilson Central to Lebanon to Mt. Juliet to Friendship Christian, it’s just been unbelievable the people who’ve reached out, whether they’ve put it out on social media or whatever they’re doing. The whole county has just pulled together for this one small community and it’s just great and it shows what type of people we have in Wilson County.”
Watertown 42, Westmoreland 0