SYRACUSE — A trio of long passing plays and missed opportunities cost the Watertown Red and Black in its 28-14 Empire Football League loss to the Syracuse Smash on Saturday night at Meechum Field.
Syracuse (1-1) scored on touchdown passes of 40, 50 and 60 yards, as it used a 21-point second quarter to establish a 21-7 halftime lead. The capper was an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown as time expired at the end of the first half. Watertown (1-1) was driving in Syracuse territory to try and tie the game, but the turnover and subsequent score turned the tide.
“That play was the back-breaker for us,” Red and Black offensive coordinator Jerry Levine said. “We were just a bit out of field goal range and they returned it 85 yards.”
Keenan Randle’s two-yard touchdown-run pulled Watertown to within 21-14 in the fourth quarter, but the 50-yard scoring pass gave the Smash an insurance touchdown. Watertown was kept off the board the rest of the game.
“We couldn’t get anything going on and we struggled in the passing game,” Levine said. “Credit to Syracuse because they played well and were strong on defense.”
The Red and Black took the lead in the first quarter after Tevin O’Steen returned an interception 10 yards for a 7-0 Watertown advantage. Randle carried the ball 14 times for 96 yards. Chris Furr caught three passes for 65 yards while Keegan Queior grabbed four catches for 38 yards. Connor Brown and Derrek Dalton each recorded 10 tackles on defense for the Red and Black.
Watertown continues its three-game road-swing with a trip to the Glens Falls GreenJackets at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Red and Black wrap up their EFL road slate against the Plattsburgh North Start at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 before returning home to take on the GreenJackets on Sept. 11 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.