SEYMOUR - How completely and utterly dominating, devastating and overwhelming was Watertown High School’s NVL football win over Seymour High School on September 27? It was so humiliating, so complete, so merciless that well before the teams completed their post-game handshake ritual, that the SHS scoreboard was already darker than your cellar at midnight, so eager were the Wildcats to make believe it hadn’t happened.
Oh, but it happened, all right, as the Indians, sporting new all-white road uniforms, were as businesslike as their crisp look in playing as complete an all-around game as they’ve ever played under Luigi Velardi, or any of their head coaches in a 35-0 throttling in a ‘battle’ of unbeaten teams which wasn’t nearly as close as the margin.
“This feels real, real good,” said Indians’ senior Owen Munson, who contributed in every way a player can contribute: hauling in passes, making big defensive plays, among them a fumble recovery, kicking extra points and with precision punting which led to Watertown points as a result of convincingly winning the battle of field position, which is to say, the Wildcats were left with very little to no room for error, and when the did make the error, the Indians pounced...and pounced some more.
In improving to 3-0 overall, the Indians reversed a 47-6 loss to Seymour which dropped them to 0-3.
What a difference a year makes, right Mr. Munson?
“Oh yeah, it does,” he repled. “We were a young team finding it’s way last year, but we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves; we listened to our coaches and just kept working on getting better as a team.”
That they have, with big #85 as one of their four captains, the Indians, since starting 0-5 last season, have gone 6-2 since, a testament to their desire and coachability.
Seymour’s only legitimate opportunity came midway through the first quarter when they began their second possession at the Indians’ 30.
Aided in great part by a horse-collar penalty, the ‘Cats were sitting pretty at the WHS 9.
That’s when defensive co-ordinator Jerry Valentino’s unit rose to the occasion and smacked down the blue-and-gold, yielding negative-three yards on four plays, including a five-yard loss on fourth-and-goal.
The Wildcats didn’t know it yet, but they were already cooked, as senior quarter Xavier Powell began his own personal two-way torturing of Seymour by leading the Indians on an 88-yard drive which was a thing of beauty, as Richie Serna, Munson, Leo Kolonsky, Cam Guerrera and Powell swiftly moved the ball downfield, with Powell from the Seymour 43, speeding to his left to score his first touchdown of the night for a 6-0 lead.
The Indians, keying on Seymour’s junior running back Curtis Dion, held him in check, forcing a punt on which Munson (there’s that name again) was interfered with while attempting to make a fair catch, giving WHS the ball on the SHS 47.
Kolonsky, Munson and Powell marched the Indians to the Seymour 18, from where Powell, escaping pressure, introduced the fans to Guerrera - who will terrorize NVL defenses for the next three years - by hitting him with an 18-yard strike in the end zone as the Indians increased their lead to 14-0.
“I liked the way we were playing,” said Velardi, “but we knew we had to keep our foot on the gas, and I kept reminding them about that.”
The Indians were all ears.
Dion’s fumble on the next possession was recovered by Watertown’s Matt Hardisty; in turn, after the Cats stopped the Indians, Munson unleashed his first work of art, which rolled dead (without being touched) just inside the Seymour one.
Beginning from the SHS 49 on their next drive, the Indians all but put the game away, such was the disparity between their mistake-free play and Seymour’s mistake-laden play.
Serna set the tone when he would not go down on an eight-yard run to the Seymour eight, and effort for which he was rewarded by having his number called again by offensive coordinator Shawn Stanco, whose faith was justified when Serna cut inside for an easy six-pointer and a 21-0 lead.
“Our confidence level just went up every time we stopped them and got the ball back to the offense,” said Munson, modestly downplaying his own role in setting things up with his booming punts.
Taking everything they were given and executing their game plan with ruthless precision, the Indians took a 21-0 lead into halftime, which dragged on way past the 15-minute mark agreed to; in fact, the ‘Cats were hit with a delay of game penalty for taking their time getting back on the field, no doubt having to sweep off the locker room floor the paint which was no doubt peeled off the walls by coach Michael Kearns and his staff.
It didn’t help.
Munson, again getting under the skin of the Cats, lofted his second goal-line hugging punt inside the one; two plays later, the Indians fell on a fumble (one of six Seymour turnovers on the night) by quarterback Kevin Harmeling at the SHS eight.
After two pound-it-out runs by Jonathan Palomba, Powell followed the surge of his line across the goal line and a 28-0 lead.
Powell wasn’t done; he picked off a Harmeling pass at the WHS 47 and sped to the Seymour nine; two plays later, he tossed another scoring pass to Guerrera, after which Munson’s kick gave the Indians the necessary 35-point lead to invoke a running time clock, which was used for the remainder of the game.
Seymour, in a last-gasp effort to avoid being blanked, left most of its’ starters in against the WHS second wave, driving to the Indians’ eight when time run out.
“It was about as complete a game as we could have played,” said Munson. “But it didn’t belong to anyone one or two of us, it belonged to the team and our coaches.”
It’s true that the Indians have major tests against Naugatuck and Ansonia awaiting them back-to-back, but the Wildcats were supposed to be their first test, and by any standard you want to apply, they absolutely aced it.
1 2 3 4 T
Watertown 6 15 14 0 35
Seymour 0 0 0 0 0
W - Powell 42 run (run failed)
W - Guerrera 18 pass from Powell (Powell pass to Kolonsky)
W - Serna 8 run (Munson kick)
W - Powell 1 run (Munson kick)
W - Guerrera, 8 pass from Powell (Munson kick)
During the month of September, the WHS Cheerleading team collected a total of $535 in donations for the children of St. Jude, coach Miranda Weidemier.
The cheerleaders and football team all wore yellow arm bands at the game against St. Paul Catholic High School on September 20; they also sold the bands, as well as pomp-poms, ribbons to fans at the game.
“This money will help fund childhood cancer treatment and research, and we thank everyone who helped,” said Weidemier.
At the Indians’ next home game against Ansonia High School on Friday, October 11, local military and veterans will be recognized and future WHS Cheerleaders and Football players from Pop Warner will be invited to attend the game.
UP NEXT: The battle for first place in the Iron Division will take place on Friday, October 4 at Naugatuck High School at 7 p.m. when the Indians (1-0, 3-0, 3-0) face the Greyhounds (2-0, 3-0, 3-0)...After back-to-back shutouts to begin their season, the ‘Hounds outscored St. Paul Catholic, 43-25 on September 27...WHS will be out to avenge a 49-0 loss last year.