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Raiders Sports

WATERTOWN TAB: Watertown Triumphs Over Belmont on Thanksgiving Day

Posted Friday, November 23, 2012 by Michael Antonellis

Watertown triumphs over Belmont on Thanksgiving

By Frank Santarpio

Seven consecutive years of Thanksgiving Day frustration finally came to an end for the Watertown High football team as they rose to the occasion on Thursday defeating the Belmont Marauders 28-7.

"This game just wasn't won today," Watertown head coach John Cacace said after the game. "This game was won eight months ago when we first got together to get ready for this season. Beating Belmont was a huge goal for us and the boys played very hard and very tough and got what they deserved today."

It took a while for the Raiders to get going, however. The first quarter strictly belonged to their rivals.

The Raiders got the ball first and quickly went three and out. The Marauders, though, would do much better on their first possession as they marched 62 yards on ten plays to take the early 7-0 lead.

Running back Max Jones was the main reason why the home team dented the scoreboard first. The sophomore not only made two outstanding runs on two separate third and long situations but he also finished off the drive with 3:51 left in the opening quarter when he found his way into the end zone on a screen pass from senior quarterback Mike Richardson from 15 yards out on a fourth and six.

At that point you could almost hear all of Watertown saying to themselves 'oh no. here we go again.

However, it did not go down that road as Watertown dominated the game from that point on.

The Raiders got its first spark of the day when senior Matt Donnell, back from a concussion injury that sidelined him the last several games, returned a punt 55 yards downfield early in the second quarter to put the locals at the Belmont 40-yard line.

One play later a pass from senior quarterback Joey Farrar to junior wide receiver T.J. Hairston for 17 yards gave Watertown its first first-down of the game before the Raiders capped off the nine play drive on a one yard run from senior running back Logan Riley with 5:35 left to go before halftime

When Belmont got the ball back it appeared they would punt when they faced a fourth and two at their own 28-yard line but Marauder head coach Kevin Gildea (former Watertown High football player and assistant coach) called for a little trickery when the Marauders faked the punt and tried to run up-field. Watertown, though, stopped the play for no gain and got the ball back in outstanding field position.

"We were ready for that fake," Cacace said. "When you are underdogs like they were you need to try to make something happen but our guys were prepared and made a great play."

Watertown took advantage of that field position but it wasn't easy. It took an outstanding individual effort from Farrar as he found his way into the end zone on a successful quarterback draw on fourth and goal from the ten yard line to give his team a 14-7 lead with just 22 seconds left to go before intermission.

"We wanted Belmont to think that we were definitely going to pass in that situation," Farrar said. "I did have to break a tackle but our linemen did a great job of blocking on that play. In fact they did a great job of blocking all game long."

Belmont got the ball first to open up the second half but the Raider defense continued its stellar play and forced the Marauders to punt after just three plays. Watertown then proceeded to get the ball deep into Belmont territory but a Farrar fourth down run fell inches short of a first down forcing the Raiders to give up the ball on downs at the Belmont 21-yard line.

Once again, however, Watertown's defense forced Belmont to punt after a few plays but this time the Raiders capitalized when they got the ball back. After another nice punt return from their special teams put the ball at midfield, the Raiders offense took care of business the rest of the way.

A 30-yard pass from Farrar (10 for 16, 126 yards, 1 TD) to Donnell put the ball in the red zone before Riley recorded his second touchdown of the game a few plays later on a six yard scoring run with 1:52 left in the third quarter to give the locals a 21-7 lead.

On that play, Riley, as he has done all year, did not give up fighting for yardage until the whistle blew and his determination got him into the end zone for the second time. Throughout the second half Riley was a huge thorn in Belmont's side running for over 100 yards in the third and fourth quarters alone.

"He did a great job helping our defense stay off the field in that second half," Farrar said.

Watertown put the final nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter when Farrar hooked up with Hairston from 21 yards out with just 5:01 left in the game. Hairston, who had another magnificent game with six receptions on the day, saved the best for last when he somehow caught the ball in the end zone despite having only one free hand to do so as Belmont's safety was draped all over him.

"Belmont's defense tried to take T.J. away all game long," Farrar said of his 6'3" receiver "But there was no way they were going to stop him today. Winning this game is the best feeling in the world and I am especially happy for my fellow seniors. It's a great day for all of us but especially for them. This was the seniors last crack at Belmont and they all played great."

The victory was also important in that it gave the Raiders their third Middlesex League win of the year and their fourth consecutive winning season as they were able to finish the 2012 campaign with a 6-5 overall record. The Marauders finished at 1-10.

"There is just two things I want to tell you," Cacace said to his team as he gathered them on the field when the game ended. "One is that you all did a terrific job. Two is that I really want you to enjoy what you just accomplished."

Cacace then added, "It just keeps getting better and better in Watertown and this football team is going to keep the train rolling."

The all-time Thanksgiving Day series between these two teams, which dates back to 1921, is now tied at 43-43-5.

The 1940 game was not played due to heavy snow.  

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