Senior Mason Andrade set the tone for Watertown by pancaking a Belmont blocker on the opening kickoff of the annual Thanksgiving Day football game. The Raiders continued to pound the Marauders all game, emerging with a 25-0 win over their rivals.
Watertown improved to 7-4, winning four of their last five games, and snapped a two-game losing streak to Belmont. The game was not played last year.
Andrade scored two touchdowns in his final game for the Raiders, and had long scoring dash called back on a penalty and almost found the end zone on a long kickoff return. He said he and his teammates were ready for the Marauders, but they didn’t take them lightly.
“Even from the kickoff when I went down and laid one of their kids out I knew it was going to be a long day,” Andrade said. “It has been a pleasure, all the memories from the last four years.”
Watertown Football Coach John Cacace the Raiders were prepared their rivals.
“It’s Thanksgiving, man, you never know what you have coming. We prepared for everything, we put in a good long week-and-a-half. watched a lot of film, and we were prepared,” Andrade said. “You never know how things can go. They have a pretty good football team, they have some pretty good football players over there, and I thought we just really played well today and that was nice.”
The game remained close early, with Watertown capitalizing on good field possession on its first drive to score a field goal. It was 3-0 after the first quarter.
Cacace said Andrade really bloomed his senior year.
“He’s a special athlete. His a combination of power and speed is really unique,” Cacace said. “It is hard to deal with. If he sees a crease he is gone.”
Andrade almost started the second quarter with a long touchdown run but the Raiders were called for a penalty. That, however, just delayed his visit to the end zone. The running back finished the drive by almost walking the ball in for a touchdown from 6 yards out. The extra point was blocked.
The Raiders had good field position at the end of the second quarter when senior wide receiver Nathan Master returned a punt to the Belmont 28 yard line. Just before halftime, junior quarterback Johnny Cacace threw a three-yard jump pass to Master. The two point conversion was stopped, but Watertown enjoyed a 15-0 halftime lead.
Andrade gave Watertown an amazing start to the second half when he almost returned the kickoff for a touchdown. He was finally brought down at the Belmont 6. The drive stalled and the Raiders tacked on a field goal.
Andrade’s final score came after the Raiders stopped Belmont’s 4th and 2 effort for a loss. Watertown started at the Marauder 26, and a few plays later the running back powered in from three yards out. With the extra point, Watertown widened the margin to 25-0 with just under two minutes left in the third quarter.
Belmont threatened to end the shutout at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Jayden Arno completed a 29-yard pass to the Watertown 37. They got it inside the Raider 30 early in the fourth quarter, but Arno was hit, fumbled and Belmont recovered, but lost 12 yards on the play. They could not convert a 4th and 25.
The Thanksgiving win was the culmination of a year of hard work, Cacace said, and four years’ hard work for the seniors.
“It’s a great day! I am just happy for the kids. This senior group has work so hard and they put so much time and energy into making themselves into really good football players in the weight room. And the passion and the commitment that they have had is awesome,” Cacace said. “I hope kids understand when they put the time and effort in that they have, you get rewarded with days like today. It has been a long time coming and I am happy for those guys.”