Watertown works its late magic once again

Conor Kennelly's last-second TD catch, extra-point kick propel Raiders to Division 5 North finals for third straight season

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
John Korte (11) takes in the lesson of Watertown coach John Cacace after the Raiders tied the game with 12 seconds left. Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

Nathan Follett, Raider Times staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






    Another day, another upset playoff victory for Watertown High School football.

    The No. 6 Raiders took down the No. 2 Somerville Highlanders, 21-20, on Friday night at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. Watertown (5-4) advances to the finals of the MIAA Division 5 North playoffs against top-seeded Lynfield (8-1) next week.

    In the most exhilarating game of the season by far, Watertown found itself down by 6 points with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. However, the Raiders stayed focused and composed to put together a strong 80-yard drive, capped by a miraculous 32-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Nick McDermott to senior wide receiver Conor Kennelly. 

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Conor Kennelly (28) keeps teammate John Korte at pay after scoring a touchdown with 12 seconds to play to tie the game — setting up Kennelly’s winning extra point. Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    McDermott was forced out of the pocket under pressure, but he delivered a perfect chest-high strike to Kennelly, who turned around a few yards short of the end zone to catch the ball and then stepped into the end zone.

    Kennelly then drilled the extra point with 12 seconds remaining to give the Raiders the lead over the Highlanders (6-3) for good.

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Nick McDermott spots the ball for kicker Conor Kennelly, who is on his way to kick the winning extra point Friday. Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    “I knew when [Somerville] went down and scored it was going to come down to our drive,” said McDermott. “I was confident in the team and myself. I knew that we had it within us to go down and score. The whole team came together and showed the world what Watertown football is all about.”

    “We execute, we stay calm, and we try to find the advantage,” said Watertown coach John Cacace of the final sequence. “It was just a really well-executed drive.”

    Junior Mange Camara added, “The whole last drive was pure effort and heart.”

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Moody Dia (53) and the rest of the special teams unit goes over assignments before Conor Kennelly’s game-winning extra point. Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    The night was expected to be a high-scoring battle between two talented offenses. Instead, fans were treated to a dramatic, low-scoring game filled with incredibly tense defensive stands and strategic offensive drives.

    The Watertown fan section started to grow as the game went on, and by the fourth quarter, the stands at Dilboy Stadium were as loud as they had been all night. The Raider faithful braved the windy conditions and were rewarded with a last-second victory.

    Somerville won the toss and elected to kick off, which was surprising considering that Watertown often jumps out to early leads. Sure enough, Camara broke it open early with a 52-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game. Kennelly converted the extra point and the Raiders found themselves on top 7-0 on the road.

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Ben Landry (55) makes some room to work during Watertown’s 21-20 defeat of Somerville on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    The WHS defense came up with a huge three and out on the initial Somerville drive, forcing the Highlanders to punt. When they got back on the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders quickly made it a two-score game, with senior Matthew Muldrew punching in a 1-yard touchdown run. Things were going well early for the Raiders, and there was hope on the sidelines and in the stands that Watertown could pull off an upset once again.

    Somerville was not going to be counted out that easily. The Highlanders’ offense roared back to life at the end of the first quarter, as they capped off a solid 80-yard drive with a touchdown run to make it 14-7.

    The Raiders had a few more offensive possessions in the first half, but couldn’t tack on any more points. Eventually, McDermott was picked off by speedy senior Jiovanny Pierre of Somerville, who returned it for a touchdown. The Highlanders had clawed their way back with the help of their defense to tie the game late in the first half at 14.

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Quarterback Nick McDermott spots trouble. Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    Heading into the second half, Somerville’s offense clearly had the momentum. However, the Watertown defense buckled down and held them in check, coming up with some key stops deep inside their own territory.

    Watertown’s offense couldn’t get anything going either, as their only scoring attempt was a 47-yard field goal try by Kennelly. A rare miss by the senior kept the score tied at 14, and it remained so with about five minutes to go in the game. Just like last week’s comeback victory against Swampscott, the outcome of the contest would come down to the final moments.

    Suddenly, Somerville found their old offensive firepower and began to march deep into WHS territory. With 2:15 to go in the game, Highlanders senior quarterback Elijah Jeffreys ran the ball in for a touchdown. Fortunately for Watertown, Somerville senior missed the extra point, so the score stayed at 20-14.

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Wide receiver Conor Kennelly works for some space at the line; moments later he would be in the end zone with a game-tying touchdown.Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

    The Raiders were given one last drive, and one final chance for victory.

    Cacace said that when the extra point was missed by Somerville, he told his Raiders that “if we score a touchdown here, we’re gonna win the ballgame.”

    His prediction would turn out to be correct.

    This win sends the Raiders to the Division 5 north finals for the third consecutive year. Cacace and the Raiders hope that the third time will be the charm against No. 1-seeded Lynnfield.

    “I’ll take our chances, whatever they are,” said Cacace. “I know our team’s gonna go out there and fight. Win or lose, we know we’re gonna come down and have a chance in the end.”

Raider Times photo / Elizabeth Allen
Moody Dia (53) celebrates after Watertown defeated Somerville, 21-20, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dilboy Stadium to advance to the MIAA Division 5 North finals.

–Nov. 3, 2017–

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Watertown shocks Lynnfield, wins North title

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Watertown — down a player — kicks it up a notch to make Div. 3 North final

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Watertown High boys’ soccer needs OT to advance

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Classes and Clubs

    Watertown High School Thinks Pink!

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    PHOTO GALLERY: Watertown field hockey wins tourney opener

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Watertown shows its heart in 31-27 upset of Swampscott

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Raiders fall at Wakefield; football playoff schedule set

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Watertown High football looks to rebound after two straight losses

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Photo galleries

    Camara, McDermott help WHS run away from Burlington

  • Watertown works its late magic once again

    Arts & Entertainment

    A day at King Richard’s Faire is one you will not soon forget

Watertown works its late magic once again