Pierre @ Watertown
Final Score: 36-0 Arrows
Arrows win big in home opener Watertown Public Opinion(registration required)
By Roger Merriam, Sports Editor
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2006
A 37-28 late-season loss at Pierre last fall ended Watertown High School's hopes for an Eastern South Dakota Conference championship.
The Arrows didn't forget and settled the score Friday night with a 36-0 ESD victory over the Governors in a game played under a steady rain in Watertown.
It was more than raindrops that showered down upon the Govs.
“We gave away that game last year in the first half,” said senior center-linebacker Jared Aesoph. “We just wanted to avenge it. They thought that Arrow Pride was gone after we lost to them, but we wanted to show them that it isn't.”
Pierre used a series of big plays to build a 31-6 lead after three quarters last October and survived a 22-point fourth-quarter barrage by the Arrows.
Watertown's barrage lasted all four quarters Friday night.
“We lost a tough overtime game at home to Yankton the week before and we showed up at Pierre a little flat,” said Watertown head coach Scott Leitheiser. “We had more than 400 yards of total offense and ended up losing. That hasn't sat well with these guys for a year and some of the Pierre guys let them know it. I think they had something to settle here.”
Much of the settling this year came from Watertown's defense. After Pierre barely crossed midfield on its opening possession of the game, the Governors never mounted any kind of offensive threat until they moved deep into Arrow territory against Watertown's reserves late in the fourth quarter.
The Governors had six of their 10 first downs and 62 of their 118 yards of total offense on that final drive.
“We've got some rangy kids who can run and they have some attitude,” said Leitheiser. “Any time you have that kind of mixture, you have the makings of a pretty good defense. We're not where we want to be yet, but we're a lot farther ahead than we've been since I've been a head coach here.”
Watertown's defense set the tone from the start, stopping the Govs on a fourth-and-1 play at the Arrow 49 on the opening possession. A 37-yard pass play from junior quarterback Josh Hanson to junior receiver Brad Monahan helped set up the Arrows' first score - a 29-yard field goal by Hanson midway though the first period.
The Arrows took off from there, scoring twice in the second quarter on runs of 5 and 7 yards by Hanson and junior fullback Kahlab Rose, respectively. The scores gave Watertown a 15-0 lead at halftime.
With the rain continuing to fall and field conditions getting more sloppy, the Arrows put the game away for good in the third quarter. Pierre fumbled away the ball four times in the period and Watertown tacked on two more touchdowns - a nifty 26-yard scamper by senior Tyler Pederson and a 4-yard QB sneak by Hanson.
“You could see the kids grow throughout the game and to do that in these conditions, I was happy with them. We basically just ran six plays tonight and we're going to keep running them until we get it right,” said Leitheiser. “We have a zillion fun things to do, but we have to get good at the basics. I think tonight, especially in the second half, we started to do that.” (more here)