There is a different feeling around the Watertown-Mayer football team than in years past and the Royals are out to prove that the change in attitude is also a change in the results.
“The biggest difference is a complete change in attitude from everyone of the guys,” said coach Andrew Phillips. “The guys are fired up, they are excited.”
And on Friday night, the Royals once again showed that they have changed the culture and changed the football hierarchy with a last minute comeback win.
“It was the first time in my time here that even though we were down, we knew we were still in the football game,” Phillips said.
In a back-and-forth game that saw the lead change hands numerous times, the Royals found themselves trailing 21-17 after New London-Spicer scored the go-ahead touchdown with 4:46 remaining in the game. Undeterred, the Watertown-Mayer football team marched down the field to score the winning touchdown with under 2 minutes remaining to win 24-21.
“It was a wild roller coaster of a game,” said Phillips. “They know now that we can do this, we can compete, we can win.”
With the win, the Royals move to 2-0 for the first time in years. The pair of wins to open 2021 come after two monumental wins in 2020 that ended a 29-game losing streak. Watertown-Mayer is out to prove that last year was no fluke and they have done so thus far, defeating a pair of teams that bested the Royals last year.
“We’re really excited about it,” Phillips said of the 2-0 start. “It’s been a wild couple of weeks for the guys, there is a lot of excitement.”
While the offense was efficient in getting 24 points and the game-winning score, the defense set the tone for the game and the Royals got a boost from special teams play. After the Wildcats drove down the field on the opening drive of the game, the defense stalled them at the 1 yard line.
“Our defense was a brick wall and held them at the 1, they set the tone,” said Phillips.
Then the Royals took a 10-7 lead into halftime thanks to a field goal by Ashton Hecksel.
“I told the guys that some teams don’t have someone who can kick field goals,” Phillips said. “That is a big weapon for us. When we get down in the red zone, if we don’t get in, we can still come away with points.”
With all three phases of the game pitching in to earn the win, the Royals are talking about a streak once again. Though for the first time in years, talk of a streak is a good one, as the Watertown-Mayer football team is on a winning streak. Phillips credits the turn around not only to the wins on the football field last year, but the success in other sports as well.
“They saw that they can compete at a high level,” Phillips said. “They gained a lot of experience in other sports and it transitioned to the football field.”