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Purple Tigers cling to closing victory
Oct 28, 2012 12:00 am
Watertown finishes 7-3, awaits playoff assignment
By ANDY REED
WATERTOWN — With the current playoff format, it can be hard to know whether a team is in the postseason or not.
Jackson County fought like the Blue Devils believed their season was on the line, wiping out all but seven points of a 25-point deficit as Watertown hung on to a 32-25 victory at Robinson Stadium on Senior Night Friday.
Watertown rode the passing and running of Ty Jobe and running and receiving of Brannon Hill to a 32-6 lead late in the third quarter.
But the value of a good punter was revealed in this game as Austin Brown left the contest in the second quarter with a possible concussion. Coach Gavin Webster tried several different punters as the Tigers attempted to run out the clock.
Jackson County used a short field to score one touchdown and Zachary Bowman returned an interception off a fake punt 60 yards for another.
But the Purple Tiger defense stiffened twice in the final three minutes after the Blue Devils got the ball in WHS territory as the hosts snapped a three-game losing streak to finish a 7-3 season while the visitors returned to Gainesboro unsure of their postseason fate at 5-5.
"We dug ourselves a hole a couple of times on offensive possessions, getting penalties in the second half after we scored twice," Webster said. "After getting first and long, it's hard to dig yourself out of a hole. We made some bad calls. We tried to fake it. We thought it was in our best interests. We were down on punters and we were on our end of the field.
"Hats off to the defense. They fought hard and stayed in there and got us a win."
A week after exiting the game at Trousdale County early with a knee injury, Jobe was hot in the first half, hitting his final 10 passes going into halftime and finishing 14-of-18 for 157 yards with the interception on the fake punt. He also sneaked a yard for a touchdown while Hill, who caught seven balls for 102 yards, rushed for touchdowns of 8, 26 and 52 yards on his way to 164 yards on 23 carries. Freshman Luke Turner, a lineman/tight end entering the season, donned a fullback's number 44 and ran for 52 yards on 10 carries, including a 10-yard score as the Tigers totaled 250 yards on 45 carries.
"We did some things we wanted to do," Webster said. "Second half, we got a lead there and just felt like we didn't need to throw the ball around a lot, unless we needed to. You got a 32-6 lead, you really want that clock running. That was when you got those first and 25s two series in a row. Sometimes, you got to throw it."
After going just 3-of-7 in the first half as Jackson County fell behind 20-6, Jarred Medlin finished 16-of-29 for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns [to Payton Wade and Drew Scott] with an interception [by Turner]. Workhorse running back Blake Bowman ran for 68 yards on 19 carries. But Scott was the Blue Devils' top rusher with 112 on eight, thanks to a 77-yard double-handoff reverse which set up his 4-yard touchdown run for the visitors' only first-half points. Dakota Self blocked the extra point and later scored a Tiger two-point conversion on a pass from Jobe.
Both teams will await the playoff pairings which will be announced beginning at 10 a.m. today on TSSAANetwork.com. The brackets will also be posted on www.tssaa.ord as they are released.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org