The Watkins Memorial High School football team trailed 20-0 early in the second quarter against visiting Delaware, but after heavy rain, an already sloppy field became a quagmire and the Warriors were able to negate the Pacers’ passing game.
Watkins Memorial then turned to power football and went on to score 32 consecutive points for a 32-20 win in the OCC-Capital Division contest.
“Our practice field is nothing but mud, so this two or three inches of wet mud between the hashes is nothing new to us,” said Watkins Memorial coach Jeff Severino, whose team improved to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the league. “When I saw the rain coming down like that, I’ll be truthful, I was happy. I said this is only going to help us, especially later in the game.
“We knew (Delaware receiver Matt Bingaya) was a big playmaker, and the receivers were having trouble making cuts in the second half and the quarterbacks couldn’t grip the ball.”
Bingaya caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Alex Rafeld with 9 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 20-0 for Delaware, which dropped to 3-3 and 2-1. The Pacers’ Josh Bender had scored on runs of 2 and 12 yards in the first quarter.
As the rain began to fall, the Warriors switched to a power-running game. Aaron Hix capped a five-play, 55-yard drive with a 26-yard run, the first of his four touchdowns.
Delaware’s next possession started well, but the drive was halted by two penalties and another 15-yard penalty on the punt return put the ball near midfield.
With the rain falling harder, the Warriors drove 10 plays with Le’Trel Taylor grabbing a 19-yard pass from Jacob Hopson on third-and-6 to make it 20-14 with under a minute left in the second quarter.
“We knew at halftime, with the rain crippling the field the way it did, and being down just one touchdown, that we were going to grind it out and win,” Severino said. “If we don’t score before halftime, it might’ve been different. But we had the momentum, the field and the personnel to run power on our side.”
Hix, who finished with 131 yards rushing on 14 carries, intercepted a pass to give the Warriors the ball at Delaware’s 37 for their first possession of the second half. He scored on a 3-yard run seven plays later to tie the game at 20.
Ronald Kimball intercepted another pass on Delaware’s next possession and Hix capped a five-play drive with a 55-yard run for a 26-20 lead.
The Warriors scored on their third consecutive possession to make it 32-20 as Hix went up the middle 8 yards after a 65-yard run by Brenden Kemp. Kemp ran for 142 yards on 21 carries and caught a pass for 13 yards.
DELAWARE 13 7 0 0 -- 20
WATKINS MEMORIAL 0 14 12 6 -- 32
D--Bender 2 run (Sanfillipo kick)
D--Bender 12 run (kick failed)
D--Bingaya 6 pass from Rafeld (Sanfillipo kick)
WM--Hix 26 run (Lyon kick)
WM--Taylor 19 pass from Hopson (Lyon kick)
WM--Hix 3 run (pass failed)
WM--Hix 55 run (kick failed)
WM--Hix 8 run (pass failed)