Yellow Jackets shut out Purple Tigers, eliminating region rival for fourth consecutive season in quarterfinals
WATERTOWN – It had to be a bad sense of déjà vu all over again, for the fourth time.
Trousdale County had put host Watertown out in the Class 2A quarterfinals the past three years entering Friday’s rematch, and nothing the Purple Tigers did was enough to prevent it from happening again.
Bryson Claiborne ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns and the Yellow Jackets turned over the Purple Tigers three times as Trousdale County advanced to the semifinals with a 23-0 victory.
It was a methodical march for the Yellow Jackets (11-1), who lost their Week 11 showdown at home with Watertown 31-21, giving the Purple Tigers their fourth consecutive region title at Trousdale County’s expense.
“I think you go back three weeks ago and Watertown, you know, they got our number,” Trousdale County head coach Blake Satterfield said. “We played a bad ballgame and it was still 21-20 going into the fourth quarter – we still had a lead. And we kind of looked at that and said ‘if we just don’t play bad, we’re the most physical team on the field and you leave no doubt about that, things will take care of itself.’”
Averaging 7.2 yards per play, the Yellow Jacket offense – which did not attempt a pass on Friday, nor did it need to – finished with 308 rushing yards on 43 carries. Claiborne had the bulk of it, especially through his three long touchdown runs (34, 53, and 69 yards).
“I think our O-line blocked good and we executed our plays,” Claiborne said. “We did what we needed to do.”
Watertown (9-4) was held to 119 total yards, and most of that came after starting quarterback Brayden Cousino left with a leg injury he sustained in the second quarter after attempting to convert a fourth-down run. Cousino did not return, and the Purple Tigers finished the contest with Kaiden West taking snaps. Bret Price also attempted four passes in Cousino’s absence, completing one for 31 yards to Kayden Seay, Watertown’s longest play of the evening.
“You hate to lose to anybody four years in a row in the quarterfinals, but it is what it is,” Watertown head coach Gavin Webster said. “We got beat by a better team tonight.
The Yellow Jacket defense intercepted three passes – two by Kane Burnley and another by Keenan Burnley – and held Watertown to 4-of-13 on third downs. All of it allowed the Yellow Jackets to win convincingly despite being penalized 10 times for 90 yards.
“It’s a big win,” Claiborne said. “I’m glad that we’re able to come out here and beat (Watertown), take care of business, and get to the fourth round.”
Trousdale County heads to Hampton for its Class 2A semifinal game, seeking its first trip to the BlueCross Bowl since 2018.
“Our kids – they’ve just jelled at the right time,” Satterfield said. “You go back to three weeks ago, and a lot of people had doubts about them, tossed them to the curb and everything. They’ve been real professional about it, and they didn’t listen to the noise, and they’ve done a heck of a job.”
Watertown’s senior class graduates with 42 wins under their belts, the most in program history over a four-year span.
“Senior class has been great to this football program,” Webster said. “Started out 0-2, could have folded the tent, but they believed in what we were doing and hung in there. They got a region championship and got back to the quarterfinals when nobody thought we would be here.”
TROUSDALE COUNTY 23, WATERTOWN 0
|Trousdale County (11-1), Watertown (9-4)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
T – Bryson Claiborne 34 run, 8:29. Colton Key kick.
T – Claiborne 53 run, 3:07. Key kick.
T – Key 31 field goal, 5:37.
T – Claiborne 69 run, 7:12. Key kick.
|Pass Attempts-Completions- Interceptions||0-0-0||5-13-3|
|Punts – Average||2-26.5||3-32.7|
Trousdale County: Bryson Claiborne 13-188, Cole Gregory 14-68, Brian Banks 8-37, Kane Burnley 5-12, Keenan Burnley 3-3.
Watertown: Kaiden West 9-22, Adam Cooper 11-21, Brayden Cousino 5-20, Kwame Seay 4-11, Brady Watts 1-4, Bret Price 2-(-9).
Trousdale County: none.
Watertown: Price 1-4-0 31, Cousino 4-7-2 19, West 0-2-1 0.
Trousdale County: none.
Watertown: Kayden Seay 2-30, Lance Fripp 1-15, Hayden Dicken 1-11, Brady Watts 1-(-6).