It was a no-fly zone for the Goslings on Friday.
The Oregon defense picked off Watertown quarterback Reece Kamrath five times as the Panthers ended the Goslings playoff hopes with a 10-0 Badger Large Conference win on Friday, Oct. 15, at Watertown High School.
Oregon (3-6, 2-5) went into the game already knocked out of playoff contention, while Watertown (3-6, 2-5) needed to win on Friday to be playoff eligible with three conference wins.
Watertown headed into its regular-season finale averaging 24.8 points per game over its last seven contests, but the Oregon defense played its best game of the season, pitching its first shutout. The Panthers’ lowest point total given up before Friday was 14 to Madison West on Aug. 26.
“I think the wet ground did kind of affect them a little bit,” Oregon head coach Dan Kissling said. “Our kids came to play. We tackled better and our guys played well.”
Evan Miles spearheaded the Oregon defense with three interceptions. Senior Andrew Niaves and junior Seth Niday also came away with picks. Senior Eli Weink recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter to give the Oregon defense a total of six forced turnovers on the night.
“They practiced really hard, we had a great week of practice,” Kissling said. “We did a couple of things to disguise our coverage a little bit better this week.”
The game’s only touchdown came early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Drew Kessenich raced for a 90-yard touchdown on a fake jet sweep.
“That was a play we have in our back pocket for all of our quarterbacks,” Kissling said.
Senior Joe Roemer nailed a chip-shot field goal with 8 minutes, 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game. The field goal was the Panthers’ first of the season.
Up 10-0 with 6:40 left in the game, the Oregon offense was faced with a fourth-and-1 from its own 29-yardline. Several of the Oregon offensive players waved off the punt team.
The call paid off as Kessenich plunged for a yard on a keeper to pick up the first down.
“We’ve been trusting our line and running backs all year long,” Kissling said. “We just had to do it.”
Senior running back Teague Szudy picked up a key first down with four minutes left in the game when he took a screen pass across the first-down chains on third-and-11.
Szudy finished with 106 total yards.
The Panther defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter. Miles intercepted two passes in the quarter on back-to-back Watertown possessions and Weink sealed the game with a fumble recovery with less than a minute left.
“We had nothing to lose, we had no pressure on us,” Kissling said. “Our kids came to play. That’s what we talked about all week long, for our seniors to enjoy their last game. I think they did.”