Raiders unable to convert in first home game
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Despite a furious comeback in the final minutes, the Watertown Raiders football team fell to the Cambridge Rindge & Latin Falcons, 21-19, on Friday night at Victory Field.
Senior captain and quarterback Nick McDermott ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, but his effort was not enough for Watertown (1-1) to top the speedy Cambridge team (1-1). Watertown was without senior captain Mange Camara for the majority of the game as he was nursing an ankle injury.
The Raiders trailed, 14-13, when they allowed a breakaway touchdown run by Cambridge’s Andre Colas with 1:48 remaining in the fourth quarter, which made the score 21-13 after the successful point-after. There was a holding call on the Falcons during the play, but Watertown coach John Cacace elected to decline the penalty and instead take the ball back before Cambridge could run out the clock.
Watertown managed to put together a successful drive which culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass from McDermott to junior Brennan Cook with just 24 seconds left in the game. However, the Raiders were unable to score on the 2-point conversion, and the score stayed at 21-19.
As the Raiders were set to kick off with seconds remaining in the game, an injured Camara entered the game to attempt the onside kick. The Raiders miraculously recovered the bouncing ball at midfield and had one final chance to score. However, McDermott’s Hail Mary attempt came up short of the end zone as time expired for the Raiders’ first loss of the season.
In a game filled with penalties by both teams, the Raiders had a go-ahead 35-yard touchdown catch by freshman Mason Andrade called back with a minute remaining in the first half. Despite not scoring, Andrade had a standout game, both as a receiver and when rushing the ball. He became McDermott’s favorite target for the night and helped the team advance down the field in each of their three scoring drives.
“We left points on the board in the red zone,” said a frustrated Cacace following the loss. “We made too many mistakes.”
The Raiders struck first with a 96-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard sneak by McDermott with 3:17 left in the first quarter. Andrade kicked the extra point to put Watertown up, 7-0. Cambridge was didn’t miss a beat and struck back with a touchdown of their own with 8:53 left in the second quarter.
After a successful 2-point conversion, Cambridge led 8-7, which would remain the score until late in the second half.
The Falcons scored once more on a 23-yard Colas run to go up 14-7. McDermott orchestrated another scoring drive that he finished off with a sneak with 3:22 left in the game. However, the Raiders attempted to take the lead with a 2-point conversion of their own but could not force their way into the end zone, so Cambridge had a 14-13 lead.
Cacace saw Friday night as a winnable game, but he said that unforced penalties were ultimately the biggest issue that cost them the victory. The Raiders have racked up 200 yards of penalties over their first two games of the season.
“It’s hard to come back from all that stuff,” Cacace said. “We have to learn from it and get better.”
Next Friday night at Victory Field, the Raiders will take on Melrose High School.
–Sept. 14, 2018–
Nathan Follett is a longtime member of the Raider Times staff. Beginning in September 2018, he is serving as Sports Editor.
Elizabeth Allen is a longtime member of the Raider Times staff. Beginning in September 2018, she is serving as Photography Editor.