Watkins accounts for 5 TDs in Galion drilling of Keystone
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
Galion erupted for 32 points in the first 16 minutes and never looked back in a 46–28 manhandling of Keystone Friday night at Unckrich Stadium.
In winning, the Tigers improve their record to 2–1. The Wildcats drop to 1–2.
The Orange-and-Blue limited the visitors to no first down and just 9 yards of total offense in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Tigers were scoring 20 points via a 1-yard touchdown plunge from David Nay, a 56-yard scoring scamper by Antonio Burket, a 28-yards Dareian Watkins-to-Austin Prosser TD pass, and a pair of Connor Kempf extra point kicks.
In the early stages of the second period, the Tigers found the endzone two more times in a span of two minutes. Watkins — who accounted for 5 touchdowns on the night — broke loose on a 28-yard quarterback keeper for six points. Moments later, he returned a punt 52 yards to paydirt. Extra point tries after both scores were no good.
The Wildcats scored their first points on a 15-yard Marcus Gunter-to-C.J. Conrad TD throw. The duo followed by pairing up on a 2-point conversion throw, making the score 32–8 with 3:45 to play in the first half.
Three minutes later, Watkins reached the endzone on a 19-yard keeper and Kempf tacked on a PAT putting the margin at 39–8. That ended up being the score at halftime.
In the second half, Watkins split out as a wide receiver and Prosser assumed the quarterbacking duties. The pair worked together in the third stanza on a 53-yard six-point bomb in which Watkins blew past the Keystone secondary on a fly pattern. Kempf tacked on another conversion kick, making it 46–8.
Keystone left its starters in the remainder of the game, and the Tigers played its reserves in the fourth quarter. In the final frame, the Wildcats had a 20-yard TD run by Brandon Buttolph, a 53-yard fumble recovery returned for six points by Mike Paris, and a 2-yard paydirt plunge courtesy of Greg Howard in the final minute. Two of three extra point kicks were good.
“It’s a win, but we have to play better than that,” said Galion head coach Chris Hawkins. “We did some very good things in the first half, but for the third week in a row we didn’t score on our first drive in the second half. We lost focus, and we can’t do that.”
He continued, “The good thing is we’re 2–1. But we have some work to do. We took a step forward in intensity, but a step back in discipline.”
The Tigers committed 12 penalties, costing them 119 yards.
Team statistics showed the winners with 225 yards rushing on 36 carries and 131 markers via 6 completions in 12 throws.
Keystone had 111 yards on the ground in 25 attempts and quarterback Marcus Gunter completed 20-of-36 passes for 192 stripes.
Individually for the Tigers, Nay ran for 89 yards on 10 carries and caught 2 passes for 20 markers.
Watkins rushed for 60 yards and 2 TDs on 8 carries, completed 2-of-7 passes for 43 stripes and a score, and caught 2 Prosser throws for 76 markers and a six-pointer. He also returned 2 punts for 68 yards and a TD, giving him 247 total yards.
Rounding out Galion’s offense were: Prosser completing 4-of-5 passes for 88 yards, 1 reception for 28, and minus-27 yards rushing on 7 carries; Burket, 64 yards rushing via 2 carries and a pass reception for 7 stripes; Arby Thompson, 4 carries for 39 yards; Mikey Hollis, 6 yards rushing on 2 attempts; and Josh Keller, 5 markers on 3 rushes.
Howard led the visitors in rushing, grinding out 91 yards on 11 totes of the pigskin. Conrad was their top receiver with 6 catches for 83 stripes.
TIGER BITES: Freshman linebacker Drake Barnett had a pair of tackles for losses. … Nay is just 13 points and 106 yards rushing away from becoming the GHS career leader in both categories. … The Orange-and-Blue begin North Central Conference play next week at Upper Sandusky.