Belmont Rolls Over Raiders in 101st Annual Thanksgiving Game

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A Watertown defender gets pressure on the Belmont quarterback in the 2023 Thanksgiving game. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The 1o1st edition of the annual Thanksgiving game was a one-sided affair, with Belmont celebrating a 47-0 win over Watertown at Victory Field on Thursday.

The Raiders tried different combinations of quarterbacks and running backs to try to get the offense going, but when the ball fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired, Watertown remained scoreless in the rivalry game.

Even though there was no doubt about the game’s outcome, Watertown fought for points until the final moments of the game. As the final minute disappeared off the clock, the Raiders moved the ball down field with a pair of passes from Gnai Concannon-Garvin to Lucas Pizzuto. On the final play, the Raiders snapped the ball just before the clock expired, but Concannon-Garvin’s pass could not be gathered in for a score.

“We had some chances there, but we didn’t get it done,” said Watertown Head Coach John Cacace.

Watertown’s Lucas Pizzuto makes a catch on the sideline late in the game against Belmont. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The Raiders had a few drives where they were able to move the ball, including the first one which started with a 13-yard run by Anthony Shorter, who started the game at quarterback, but later moved to running back. The drive halted when Belmont stopped Watertown on 4th and one.

Belmont scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, the first coming when quarterback Jayden Arno threw to Bryce Hubbard. After another Raider drive showed some life, including a 22-yard pass from Shorter to Joseph Connors, the drive ended when Watertown went for it on fourth down. Then, Marauder running back Adrien Gurung took a handoff 62 yards for a touchdown.

A Belmont interception early in the second quarter led to a 50 yard touchdown reception by Brian Logan.

Watertown running back Anthony Shorter runs downfield in the Thanksgiving game. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The next drive, Watertown switched its formation, putting three blockers in the backfield to block for the Shorter. After some initial success, the Raiders had to punt. Gurung got Belmont on the board again, scoring on a 51-yard run. The Marauders almost scored at the end of the half, but a ball went through the receivers hand in the end zone. They took a 26-0 lead to the locker room.

Belmont opened the second half with a quick score. Arno ran for a 51 yard touchdown. The Marauders scored again late in the third quarter.

The Raiders put Concannon-Garvin in as signal caller late in the third quarter, and got a 25 yard run from Shorter (who moved to running back) on third down on the next drive. An interception stopped the effort. In the fourth quarter, Arno threw for another touchdown to put the Marauders up 47-0 early in the final frame.

Watertown quarterback Gnai Concannon-Garvin delivers a pass in the game again Belmont. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

Watertown faced a tough Marauders team in 2023, Cacace said.

“It’s a good team. They won the (Middlesex League’s) Large Division, and made the playoffs for the first time in a long time,” Cacace said. “We knew it was an uphill battle and we didn’t make the plays today that we needed to make.”

Much of the 2023 season has been a struggle for Watertown, Cacace said.

“It’s been a struggle all year. Our starting quarterback Owen Newlon went down in week four, so we’ve been scrambling ever since,” Cacace said. “Anthony (Shorter) and Gnai (Concannon-Garvin) have done a nice job to try and give different guys some carries and looks, but it’s hard when they are stacking the box against you and it makes it difficult.”

Watertown tight end Joseph Connors makes a catch downfield in the Thanksgiving game. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

Cacace addressed a deflated group of Raiders after the game and said he gave them a simple mission.

“The message is we always have to get better. Hats off to our seniors, they fought for us for four years, and the guys who are coming back, we start to get better on Monday,” said Cacace, who added he plans to be in the weight room with the team at 7 a.m. that day.

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