Bobcats football looking to build on momentum

Aaron Jorenby/Register: Brookings’ Cole McKeown runs into the endzone for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Bobcats’ 47-21 loss to Tea Area on Aug. 27. Brookings plays at Watertown on Friday night at 7 p.m.

BROOKINGS – Fresh off a commanding 42-0 win over the Douglas Patriots, the Brookings football team is looking to move its record to 2-1 as it heads to Watertown to rekindle a rivalry with the Arrows on Friday night.

LAST WEEK

Brookings evened its season record at 1-1 with a dominating performance over Douglas.

Just a minute into the game after a long kickoff return, quarterback Jaxon Bowes took it in himself from two yards out to open a 7-0 lead.

Following an interception, Israel Caldron scored from six yards out to make it 14-0.

Jaxton Eck then picked off a pass and returned it the distance to give the Bobcats a 21-0 lead not even halfway through the first quarter.

The lead grew to 28-0 when Caldron scored his second touchdown after another Patriots turnover.

The Bobcats would add two more touchdowns in the second quarter to lead 42-0 at the half, which also ended up as the final score as the teams played to a scoreless second half.

Brookings head coach Brady Clark said he was impressed with how his team responded after falling in their season opener a week prior.

“Our biggest question going into the Douglas game was how are we going to respond following a week one loss, and we really came out and were mentally sharper. How we won that game was an improvement from week one to week two in our mentality,” Clark said.

Offensively, Caldron rolled up 95 yards on 11 carries while finding the endzone twice.

Hunter Gray added 77 yards and a touchdown on just five carries.

Quarterback Jaxon Bowes completed his only pass of the game, hitting Gray for a 12-yard completion.

The Bobcats were ball-hawks on defense with seven takeaways, tracking down six interceptions and securing a fumble.

Eck and Gray each had a pick-six while Josh Devine, Sam Hardin, Lincoln Hardin, and Brock Longville each snagged an interception.

Moe and Sam Hardin each had six tackles.

Kicker Payton Theodosopoulos converted on all six extra point tries

SEASON IN NUMBERS

Through two games, Bowes has completed 9-of-19 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also tossing three interceptions.

Gray leads the team in the backfield with 166 yards on 11 carries, finding the endzone three times. Caldron has the team lead in rushing touchdowns with three while gaining 103 yards on 13 totes.

Gray is also the team leader in receiving yards, logging 147 yards on just four receptions with a 79-yard catch and run to his credit.

Eck leads the team in tackles with 20 to go along with his interception returned for a score against Douglas.

Sam Hardin has recorded 19 tackles and Josh Devine has had 18, They both also have an interception.

Lincoln Hardin and Zach Moe have the team lead with a pair of interceptions each.

On special teams, Theodosopoulos has attempted eight extra points on the year with his lone misfire coming on the Bobcats’ first touchdown of the season.

Devine has punted away the ball five times for a 31.6 average and a long of 45.

Eric Dang has one kickoff return to his name for 55 yards, while Gray has posted a 22 yard average on three tries as well as a 35-yard punt return.

As a team the Bobcats are averaging 106 yards passing and 162.5 yards rushing per game, scoring 31.5 points per game while allowing 23.5.

RENEWING A RIVALRY

Brookings and Watertown last met on the gridiron in 2018 after decades of being a yearly rivalry.

When Watertown was forced to move to the 11AAA ranks with the addition of the “big school” class it ended the yearly meeting of the I-29 teams.

But with Watertown and Aberdeen Central moving down to 11AA this season while the new Sioux Falls Jefferson became the ninth 11AAA team, 2021 brought back a Bobcats/Arrows game to the schedule.

While many say it’s not the same rivalry it used to be, the players know about the past and what a Brookings/Watertown game means.

“Our kids know about the rivalry,” Clark said. “They’re excited about it, and more importantly they’re excited to keep the momentum from last week against a tough opponent.

“It’s a big rival for the community. We’re treating it as such, too.”

The Arrows come in with a matching 1-1 record, winning their season-opener at Sturgis Brown before dropping a heartbreaker last week at Howard Wood Field to the Sioux Falls Lincoln Patriots.

Lincoln completed a desperation heave from nearly 60 yards as the clock struck 0:00 to knock off the Arrows, 31-26.

Watertown is ranked fifth in both the South Dakota media poll and the South Dakota coaches poll.

The Bobcats dropped out of the top five in both polls despite winning last week. Brookings is receiving votes in both polls.

Kickoff between the Bobcats and Arrows gets underway tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Watertown Stadium.

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