Watertown rallies to edge Cooney
On a chill night, Watertown and Oconomowoc waged a hotly contested battle for second place and a shot at sharing the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference title. Possible home field advantage in the upcoming playoffs was also on the line. Each team boasted 5-1 conference records, and both teams’ sole loss came against undefeated Wisconsin Lutheran.
Watertown trailed 16-13 with just 2:39 to play, then took advantage of a short punt and good field position to post a 19-13 victory on the road.
With a playoff atmosphere as backdrop, the two teams burst onto the scoreboard
on the opening possessions of the game. Watertown used just six passing plays to cover 82 yards and score in a 2-minute game-opening drive. Tarek Yaeggi completed 5 throws, the final toss a 16-yard touchdown to Sam Zwieg followed by a Josh Fisher kick for the extra point.
Equally energized, the Raccoons responded with a drive eating up just more than 4 minutes and 60 yards of gridiron. The series used 10 plays that included four
completions on five attempts by Canton Larson. The quarterback hit Tyler Enright for the 13-yard touchdown, but the extra point kick was blocked leaving Watertown ahead, 7-6.
Two very solid defenses then took charge with the teams struggling for field
position and surviving several penalties. An interception by Andrew Guenther stopped a Goslings drive, but Oconomowoc could not capitalize on the turnover.
Watertown mounted another drive with 2:24 left in the half only to have a Yaeggi to Conner Redfern 45-yard pass completion end in a fumble that was recovered by Logan Ballering with just more than a minute left in the half.
The turnover and excellent clock management allowed Oconomowoc to move from its own 24 to the Watertown 11. A timeout with 2 seconds to go in the half saved enough time for Casey Bednarski to nail a 27-yard field goal and give his team a 9-7halftime lead.
Watertown again offered the Raccoons a scoring opportunity when Yaeggi was hit attempting to pass, and Tyler Fogarty fell on the loose ball at the Goslings 36-yard line.
A roughing the passer penalty and three plays moved the ball to the 18, where Bednarski again tried a field goal on fourth down. This time his attempt was blocked by Preston Pritchard. A series later, Oconomowoc took a 16-7 lead when Larson scrambled away from a sack and found Zach Poker open in the end zone. The 20-yard touchdown and Bednarski point after came with 10:22 left in the game.
Watertown was quick to answer, driving 65 yards in the next 2:26 to close th gap to 16-13 on a 16-yard TD pass from Yaeggi to Jerry Williams. Aaron Cramer blocked the point after kick with just 7:54 left to play.
Both defenses again came to the forefront as the Goslings forced a 3-and-out to regain possession with 5:53 to play. Oconomowoc returned the favor in like fashion and gave the home team the ball and a chance to run out the remaining 4:58. Starting at its own 26, the Raccoons struck quickly with a pass from Larson to Poker gaining 37 yards on first down.
The Goslings defense then held, stuffing a Chris Church run for a loss of 3, holding Larson to a short gain on a broken play, and forcing an incomplete pass to end the threat. Watertown then got a huge break when the Oconomowoc punter dropped the snap and was forced to kick on the run from charging defenders.
That set up the game- winning series that covered 77 yards in 6 plays. The drive was enhanced by a 15-yard hit to the head penalty that erased a fourth down and a yard to go and created a first down at the Oconomowoc 48-yard line. Two Yaeggi passes moved the ball to the 33, where he then found Aaron Kumbier for the 33 yard go ahead touchdown. The extra point effort was blocked.
With 1:01 to play, Oconomowoc went to the air from its own 38, but all four attempts fell incomplete.
Tyler Enright led Oconomowoc receivers with five catches good for 87 yards and
one touchdown. Canton Larson was good on 18 of 30 passes for 258 yards and 2
touchdowns. Watertown’s Tarek Yaeggi was good on 21 of 38 tosses for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He had one interception.
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