JOHNSTOWN - The Glove Cities Colonials and Watertown Red and Black lived up to their historic rivalry on Saturday night in a closely contested and heated game.
Watertown emerged victorious in the Empire Football League contest, 28-26, at Knox Field.
"We're building. We've lost a lot of guys, a lot of guys left the team," Glove Cities coach Darrin Earing said. "We're building, we're coming around, we're coming together as a team."
The Colonials started off the game with a quick defensive stop after Colonials cornerback Dustin Marlitt got the tackle after the initial kick-off. Watertown's Ryan Semore's pass to Edgar Givins gave the Red and Black the first and 10.
Watertown's Curtis Dukes ran the ball for 31 yards and a first and goal. The Red and Black capitalized on the next possession, scoring the game's first touchdown with 11:35 to go in the first quarter. Cody Smith's kick was good for the field-goal, putting the road team up 7-0.
The Colonials' first possession of the game was unsuccessful, with Watertown's Mark Latour getting the recovery off a fumble. Edgar Givins scored a touchdown after the connection with Semore to score a second touchdown. Cody Smith once again split the uprights to bring the score to 14-0 in the closing minutes of the opening quarter.
The Colonials scored their first points late in a back-and-forth second quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Banks. The third period started off similar to how the second ended, with Banks making another big play after running the ball for 35 yards and a first-and-10 at the 20-yard line.
Banks followed up the play with another 15-yard touchdown pass to the center of the endzone at the 10:20 mark. The Colonials failed at a two-point conversion attempt, with the score being 14-12.
The Red and Black started to pull away again in the closing minutes of the third quarter, with Semore connecting with Dukes for another touchdown and Cody Smith successfully converting his third field goal of the contest.
The Colonials answered back before the end of the period, with Banks running for a 52-yard touchdown. After Banks' touchdown and a successful field goal kick, the score was 21-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We looked a lot better on offense. The defense is coming along, we haven't got a win yet, but we're fighting hard, playing hard," Banks said. "The team is coming together a little bit, the team is continuing to fight. We start playoffs in a couple weeks, clean slate, everybody's in, so we'll go from there. We're just going to get a couple wins before we end the season."
Watertown's Jaren Jackson started off the final period with 68 yard kickoff return. Seymore hit Chris Furr with a 12-yard touchdown pass, followed by Smith's fourth and final successful field-goal kick of the contest, bringing the score to 28-19.
The Colonials would make the game interesting, with Banks making passes to advance down the field and ultimately hitting one of his wideouts deep in the end zone with a 20-yard touchdown pass, followed up with a successful field goal with 1:49 to go.
"I think our offense came together tonight. That's something we've been trying to improve on the past couple weeks. We only had 28 points throughout our previous four games, we put up 26 tonight, so we're definitely improving in that aspect of the game," Colonials lineman Kevin Edwards said. "Our defense, these guys scored 30 something points on us last time, we put them to 28. We're getting a lot better, guys are starting to blend together better, we're coming together as a team more. You can see our talent when we're playing as a team and everybody's on the same page."
Watertown went on to win the contest 28-26 in a grind-out thriller. The Watertown Red and Black improved its league-best record to 5-0, while the Colonials fell to 0-5 after the loss.
"We have a road ahead of us, we have a very young team, today showed. Hard work pays off. Hopefully, we can turn it around," Earing said. "We're coming together, we lost 20-something players this year, so it's basically a whole new roster. Guys are just starting to feel comfortable with each other.?They're coming around."