Watterson: Eagles to face Teays Valley after two close CCL losses
A second consecutive loss to a CCL opponent after it held a lead might have set up the Watterson football team for a depressing Labor Day weekend under typical circumstances.
The Eagles certainly will find it difficult to win a league title, considering they likely will need to win their remaining three league games and then get some help.
Still, there has been much to like about the progress Watterson has shown at the beginning of the fourth season for coach Brian Kennedy, especially considering the Eagles don’t have the pressure of having to qualify for the playoffs since every team is invited this fall.
The Eagles have another week to get better when they play Friday, Sept. 11, at Teays Valley in the first meeting between the programs following their 28-22 overtime loss to DeSales on Aug. 28 and a 28-21 setback against Hartley on Sept. 4.
The loss to Hartley was the ninth in a row in the series, but didn’t resemble last season when Watterson fell 39-0 to end its playoff hopes.
“It's a little different mood than after (the loss to DeSales),” Kennedy said. “Certainly nobody is happy with a loss, but we haven't been competitive with Hartley the last few years and we had (a chance to win).”
Teays Valley doesn’t have the history of success that DeSales and Hartley possess, with no postseason appearances since 2015 and no playoff victories in school history, but the Vikings are a Division II program that went 7-3 last season.
Throw in that the Vikings are 2-0 and are averaging 273 yards rushing, and Kennedy expects his team to be challenged.
It helps that Watterson should be healthy after an injury to senior two-way lineman Charlie McAdow against DeSales was not as severe as first thought and didn’t keep him from playing against Hartley.
Teays Valley followed a 31-25 victory over Logan Elm on Aug. 28 by beating Fairfield Union 42-13 on Sept. 4. Logan Elm and Fairfield Union both are 0-2 after combining to go 3-17 last season.
Sophomore Camden McDanel has rushed for 216 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, senior Landyn Brown has 27 carries for 168 yards and three touchdowns, senior Hunter Young has a rushing touchdown and junior quarterback Tyler Love has 75 yards rushing and one touchdown on 14 carries.
Love also is 9-for-19 passing for 179 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“They’re 2-0 and I told the kids they’re not DeSales or Hartley, but they’re 2-0 and we’re 0-2,” Kennedy said. “They’re an I-formation power-run team. That quarterback is a really good athlete and they’ll run him.”
Against Hartley, quarterback Jake Hoying was 14-for-34 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns, with two of his passing scores going to Andrew Bettendorf and the other going to Sam Intihar.
Running back Cam Nickelson followed a Week 1 performance in which he had 27 rushes for 164 yards and two touchdowns by rushing for 128 yards on 16 carries.
Watterson led Hartley 14-7 at halftime before allowing a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.
After the Eagles tied it at 21 with 10 minutes, 13 seconds left on an 8-yard scoring pass from Hoying to Bettendorf, Hartley scored the winning touchdown with 3:39 to go.
Watterson moved to the Hartley 19 on its final possession, but the drive stalled after the Eagles were whistled for a 15-yard chop block penalty.
“We’ve played two of the top Division III teams in the state,” Kennedy said. “I thought we got better from Week 1 to Week 2. Hartley’s a really good team. We got done watching the film and there were a lot of positives, a lot of things to work on.”
WATTERSON at TEAYS VALLEY
*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11
*Last meeting: First meeting
*Watterson (0-2) to date: Lost to DeSales 28-22 (OT); lost to Hartley 28-21
*Teays Valley (2-0) to date: Defeated Logan Elm 31-25; def. Fairfield Union 42-13
*Top Eagles: Andrew Bettendorf (WR/DB), Henry Blevins (DB), Davis Boone (TE/LB), Jake Hoying (QB), Sam Intihar (WR/DB), Cam Nickleson (RB/DB), Dom Orsini (DB), Nick Youell (OL/LB) and Tyler Young (WR/DB)
*Top Vikings: Cooper Booth (LB/RB), Landyn Brown (RB/DB), Eli Burgett (DL/TE), Chance Littler (RB/DB/LB), Tyler Love (QB/DB), Camden McDanel (RB/LB), Camden Primmer (WR/DB) and Joey Thurston (OL/DL)