Football Week 1 Recap

Watkins Memorial 51, Licking Heights 21

Warriors dominate area rival Hornets

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By Tim Revell/ThisWeek
The Watkins Memorial High School football team gets ready to take the field prior to the Aug. 26 season opener against Licking Heights.
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The "Battle for Broad Street" was decided almost before the glare from the sun was gone from the press box.

The host Watkins Memorial High School football team recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, took an early 7-0 lead and went on to defeat Licking Heights 51-14 in the opener for both teams.

The Warriors' Billy Duvall fell on the fumble at the Licking Heights 27-yard line, and junior running back Brenden Kemp scored on a 1-yard run seven plays later.

Watkins extended its lead to 16-0 at the end of the first quarter on a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Le'Trel Taylor from senior quarterback Jake Hopson and by sacking Hornets' quarterback Darius Strickland in the end zone for a safety.

"I'll tell you what, our kids came out hard," said Watkins coach Jeff Severino, whose team forced two more turnovers and added another safety before halftime. "We got the early turnover and things just kind of snowballed from there."

Kemp rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, when the Warriors rolled up 253 total yards.

In addition to his touchdown reception before the break, Taylor also had a 35-yard touchdown run.

Hopson - who finished 4-for-5 passing for 49 yards and two touchdowns and didn't attempt a pass in the second half - replaced senior Tyler Hodge in the starting lineup. Hodge broke his ankle in the final scrimmage and could miss seven weeks, said Severino, who added he was pleased with his entire offense as it finished with 447 total yards.

"The offense controlled the ball and ran the clock," he said. "Jake played great. I'm really proud of him."

Kemp carried 29 times for 180 yards with scoring runs of 1, 55 and 10 yards, and Taylor carried nine times for 133 yards and two touchdowns

The Watkins defense recorded five sacks of Strickland, who finished with 19 yards rushing and passed for 109 yards. Licking Heights finished with 206 total yards, but most of those came after Watkins had replaced its starters.

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LICKING HEIGHTS 0 0 8 13 -- 21

WATKINS MEMORIAL 16 21 14 0 -- 51

WM--Kemp 1 run (Lyon kick)

WM--Taylor 25 pass from Hopson (Lyon kick)

WM--Safety, Strickland sacked in end zone

WM--Reda 12 pass from Hopson (kick failed)

WM--Kemp 55 run (pass failed)

WM--Safety, Strickland sacked in end zone

WM--Taylor 35 run (Lyon kick)

WM--Kemp 10 run (Lyon kick)

LH--Mitchell 6 run (Mitchell run)

WM--Taylor 51 run (Lyon kick)

LH--Dawson 1 run (run failed)

LH--Gilbert 17 pass from Strickland (Hall kick)

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