The St. Charles Preparatory School football team put the clamps defensively on Watterson in the second half, holding the host Eagles to a lone first down after the break en route to a 23-13 victory on Friday, Oct. 21.
"This was a complete team victory," said St. Charles coach Jeff Pharion, whose team improved to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in the CCL-Silver Division with its first win over Watterson since 2000.
"We had a good rhythm on offense in the first half and were able to get (nine) first downs. When the Watterson defense stepped up in the second half, so did ours. I'm so proud of the entire team."
The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and marched 47 yards to the Watterson 21 before settling for a 38-yard field goal by John Colosimo with 8 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
Watterson — which fell to 3-6 overall and 0-2 in the CCL-Silver — answered on its first drive with a 38-yard scoring run by quarterback Austin Green, who was filling in for injured starter Andy Elberson.
St. Charles ran the ball on nine of 10 plays during the ensuing drive, which featured several runs by Sean Fitzmartin. Fitzmartin finished with 25 carries for 161 yards and put the game away with a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
"When I want a few tough yards, I give the ball to No. 22," Pharion said. "When I need a first down late in the game, I give the ball to 22. When I want a touchdown to put the game out of reach, I give the ball to 22."
Gunner Francis added 107 yards on 16 carries for St. Charles.
Watterson struggled in the second half, as the Cardinals’ defense had three three-and-outs and also forced the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs at the end of the game.
Watterson rushed for 133 yards on 27 carries and finished 1-for-10 passing.
Despite their troubles on offense, the Eagles went ahead 13-10 when Walter Green returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown with 11:38 remaining in the second quarter.
But with 48 seconds remaining in the half, Watterson quarterback Austin Green was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by St. Charles defensive lineman Josh Padgett. Fitzmartin then had a 42-yard run around right end and Francis scored from 3 yards out with 28 seconds left to put the Cardinals ahead 17-13.
In the second half, the Cardinals missed field-goal attempts of 21 and 42 yards before quarterback Nick Dejaco found split end David Shuster on a slant for 39 yards to set up Fitzmartin’s final scoring run.
"That was a crucial play in the game for sure and I was so happy for David," Pharion said. "David has worked so hard this year and he's been patient and hasn't always played a lot. But he certainly made the most of his opportunity today. That was a big play for us. I'd rather be 8-2 but I'll take 3-6 with a win over Watterson."
ST. CHARLES 3 14 0 6 -- 23
WATTERSON 0 13 0 0 -- 13
SC--Colosimo 38 FG
W--Greene 38 run (Clegg kick)
SC--Francis 1 run (Colosimo kick)
W--Green 94 kickoff return (kick failed)
SC--Francis 3 run (Colosimo kick)
SC--Fitzmartin 5 run (kick failed)