Recap: Williamstown Advances To Class A Semi-Final With 42-22 Over East Hardy

Posted on:

< < Back to

Williamstown quarterback Dakota Watson may be listed at 5’10” 186 lbs., but on Saturday he played like a giant.

We got number seven,” Williamstown head coach Terry Smith said after the game referring to the dual-threat leader. “Number seven’s pretty good.”

The Class A No. 3 seed Williamstown dominated the second half to defeat No. 14 seed East Hardy 42-22 behind the elusive play of Watson. 

Watson had phenomenal awareness in the pocket.  If pressure came his way, he calmly flushed out of the pocket, avoided the rush and scrambled for chunks of yardage. 

He did it all for the Yellow Jackets gaining 330 all-purpose yards.  He scored three times through the air on just five completions and rushed for 227 yards.   

East Hardy quarterback Corey McDonald was similar in his style of play, but didn’t have the same leadership skills as Watson. 

Both teams had plenty of miscues throughout the game.  The teams combined for 19 penalties.  McDonald threw four interceptions, which cut off many opportunities for the Cougars.   A high snap to Watson on a punt play turned into a safety in the first quarter.

After the first quarter, East Hardy found a hole in the Williamstown defense through the air.  When faced with long yardage situations, their receivers ran 10-15 yards up the sideline and were an easy, and often times open, target for Corey McDonald. 

By halftime, it looked as though East Hardy, who had a 16-14 lead, had a shot to pull off the upset over powerhouse Williamstown. 

But Yellow Jackets transformed into a different team in the second half.  The first drive of the second half comprised of ground and pound runs that moved them downfield before turning the ball over on downs. 

On the ensuing drive, Corey McDonald’s pass went from one quarterback to another.  The Watson interception was a turning point in the game.  Watson took the following first down snap 45 yards downfield to the East Hardy five-yard line and ran it in the end zone two plays later.  The series of events gave Williamstown the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter.

Whether or not there were holes in the Yellow Jacket defense in the second half didn’t matter.  The fierce Williamstown pass rush shut down McDonald and sacked him on the majority of drives in the second half. 

On one drive, defensive end Trevor Hoosier sacked the quarterback on two consecutive plays, setting up a third-and-22 and killing the Cougar’s drive. 

One change made on offense by the Yellow Jackets was an increase of opportunities for Michael Beck and Trenton Tallman.  They averaged 5.67 yards per carry and helped take attention away from the versatile Dakota Watson. 

Beck also produced on the defensive side of the ball.  On one drive in the fourth quarter, he sacked the quarterback and then intercepted the ball on the following play. 

Though East Hardy had a larger team in size, their roster had just 28 people, making it a long game for many of the Cougars. 

Williamstown owned the second half.   The chance of an upset was erased by Watson’s field general skills and the disruptive pass rush led by Hoosier.

Williamstown gets one step closer to being a part of the super six and will take on the No. 2 seed Tug Valley next week in the Class A semi-finals.