Watertown football team ready to kick off new Fall 2 season

Some of the high school sports sidelined because of the pandemic are getting a second chance starting Feb. 22


Raider Times photo / Leah Knipper-Davis

Pregame scenes from the 99th Thanksgiving meeting of the Watertown and Belmont football teams, Nov. 28, 2019, at Victory Field in Watertown.

Thomas Dicker, Raider Times staff

After many months of waiting, Watertown High School Football players have finally been granted the opportunity to return to Victory Field and play the game that they love.

After the fall football season was shutdown by the MIAA for a spike in COVID cases, players will soon be participating during “Fall 2,” which was set up for sports which were thrown to the wayside. 

At Watertown High School, that means football coach John Cacace will be back with his team starting Monday, Feb. 22. Cacace, who also teaches math at WHS, was asked what was his biggest challenge after not having a season in the fall.

“Honestly I just feel like my life is a little incomplete,” he said. “You know I teach all day and I’m usually busy and running off and practicing, and going to games, and scouting, and breaking down films. It’s just the sense of not having the things that bring enjoyment for me… I think everybody had to deal with that. 

“I’ve been able to replace that with other things, I spent a lot of time with my family and my three children and my wife, so we watch a million movies and we play a bunch of games and we stay busy. 

“My son is an athlete here at Watertown High School, so he has had some games in the fall and in the winter and my daughter is playing basketball and it’s hard. I drive her to a game and I sit in the parking lot and wait for her to get out because there are no fans. But whatever we are staying busy, a lot of family time, but I am really looking forward to the season and to get the juices flowing again and do the things I love to do. 

Scenes from Victory Field during the first half of the 99th Thanksgiving meeting of the Watertown and Belmont high school football teams, Nov. 28, 2019. (Raider Times photo / Emma Fallon)

Cacace was also asked how players could have best prepared for the football season, mentally and physically.

“Physically, there are some opportunities out there,” he said. “There is a good handful of players who have been at a local gym here in Watertown and they lift four days a week or five days a week and they are really going hard after it. They’re strong and they’re fit and I think those guys are gonna be ready to go. 

“Some kids haven’t [been lifting] or haven’t had that opportunity or had the resources to get to the gym and pay for a membership because we can’t use the gym here at the high school, so I am sure there will be some kids who aren’t physically in the best shape, but we are going to work around that.

“I think this year is going to be different and the expectations will be different and we will just have to work around where everybody’s at when we get ready to go. 

“Mentally, I hope kids are getting excited, you know part of life is anticipation and being excited and getting motivated to do things that you want to do, so instead of making excuses about. ‘Oh the season is going to be short,’ or ‘Why are we playing in February?’ or ‘It’s going to be cold,’ or ‘There might be snow,’ or ‘This isn’t what I want,’these are all negative thoughts that you can’t really control and being positive and controlling the things you can control like your effort and attitude and your determination for being ready to go on Feb. 22. That’s not different than any other challenge in life. You’re going to have to control what your able to control, be the best you can be mentally, and be physically ready to go and make the most of the situation that is at hand.

“We can’t control COVID, we can’t control anything else, but we can control the eight weeks we are gonna have together for a football season, so let’s make it the best we can.” 

First-half action from the 99th Thanksgiving meeting of the Watertown and Belmont high school football teams, Nov. 28, 2019, at Victory Field in Watertown. (Raider Times photo / Leah Knipper-Davis)

WHS student Cam Reed was asked how he has prepared for the season.

“Me and many members of the team have been lifting consistently for months now in preparation for our junior season.”

Cam was also asked about his thoughts, excitements, worries about the upcoming football season.

I’m excited for this upcoming season and the chance to play football again,” he said. “Of course, one of the constant worries is that the season will get canceled halfway through, but I think our biggest worry is our lack of depth at the quarterback position. We need to find one fast if we want to have the first winning season in two years.” 

Cam was asked about his favorite about playing football for WHS.

“My favorite part about football [pre-COVID] is going to the JV games on Saturdays and winning games,” he said. “To me, there is no better feeling than standing on the turf after a win.”

For ninth-grader, Kaio Da Silva, who has yet to play for the Raiders, said his biggest challenge has been off the field.

“I think keeping my grades up, so I can play later on in the year,” he said.

For preparation, he said he has been “practicing with some other freshman, running routes and conditioning, but with the cold it is not that easy.” 

As for he enjoyed most about being on a football team, he replied: “My favorite part was practice because I hang out with my friends and we have a good time, and also, in the past ,we didn’t need to use masks.”

Pregame scenes from the 99th Thanksgiving meeting of the Watertown and Belmont football teams, Nov. 28, 2019, at Victory Field in Watertown. (Raider Times photo / Emma Fallon)

–Feb. 22, 2021–