By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County dug itself an early hole and could not recover on its way to a 32-12 setback at Watertown in the annual battle for the Mayor's Cup Friday (Sept. 26).
The Lions dropped to 0-5 with the loss, including four losses to lower-division teams. Watertown improved to 2-4.
Cannon County's defense played well enough to keep the team in the game but the offense continued to sputter with turnovers and costly penalties.
One Cannon County player was ejected in the second half for throwing a punch.
AJ Daniel had a stellar all-around game. Daniel turned in a game-high 15 tackles, recorded a sack, hauled in an interception and forced a fumble. He also had seven rushes for 52 yards and completed both pass attempts for 31 yards.
Eldon Resco continued his solid season at linebacker with 10 tackles. Austin Brock also had a strong effort with eight tackles and he also collected an interception.
Cannon County's offense was once again too problematic for the team to overcome. The Lions' offense was guilty of five fumbles, losing three, and Cannon County also had 11 penalties for 80 yards.
When the Lions were not shooting themselves in the foot they were able to move the football. Cannon County finished with 157 yards total offense. The Lions passed for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Walkup was 6-of-12 for 134 yards and Daniel was 2-for-2 for 31 yards. Two of Walkup's passes went for touchdowns - a 57-yard effort from Case Isenhart and a Forrest Mason hauled in a 9-yard catch for a score midway through the fourth quarter. Mason finished with two catches for 32 yards.
Cannon County also managed 92 yards on the ground with Daniel leading the way with 52 yards on seven carries. Walkup finished with 24 yards on seven carries.
Watertown vaulted to a 12-0 first-quarter lead without the benefit of an offensive touchdown. In fact, Cannon County's defense was not even on the field for nine of the Purple Tigers' points.
Watertown opened the game with an 85-yard kickoff return from Skylor Scales and the Purple Tigers extended the lead with a safety at the 6:44 mark of the first quarter to push the lead to 9-0.
Cameron Jennings' 25-yard field goal with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter enabled Watertown to build a 12-0 lead. The Lions' defense kept the game within reach and didn't allow any points in the second quarter but the offense couldn't narrow the gap before intermission as Watertown took a 12-0 lead to the break.
After Watertown scored on a 48-yard run to open the third quarter, Cannon County answered with a 57-yard pass play. Walkup hit Isenhart for a short pass and the senior standout did the rest as he went 57 yards to paydirt.
Watertown would score twice more to break the game open before Walkup connected with Mason for a 9-yard score to cap the scoring with 6:19 remaining.
Cannon County will play host to Macon County for Homecoming Friday (Oct. 3). Kickoff is 7 p.m.