Expectations were high coming into last Fridays’ season opener for the defending Class 1A state champion Fayetteville High School Tigers and fans were not disappointed as the Tigers began their quest to defend the title by downing 2A 2020 quarter finalist, Watertown, 42-20, in a game that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter.

Fayetteville drew first blood, jumping out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, but Watertown got back in the thick of things when the Purple Tigers rushed for a touchdown with eight minutes to go before halftime. The two-point conversion failed, and the home Tigers led 14-6.

The Tigers showed they still have big play ability when only two minutes later, KJ Jackson raced 28 yards for the touchdown. The extra point attempt failed.

Fayetteville’s defense held Watertown on downs, giving the Tigers the ball on their own 23-yard line. Corian Cash broke free for a 40-yard touchdown and Isaiah Thomison crossed the goal line for the two-point conversion, giving the Tigers a 28-6 lead.

The Purple Tigers however were not ready to lay down and quit, challenging the Fayetteville defense, and reaching paydirt with under two minutes to go before halftime. Fayetteville’s defense earned the stop on the two-point conversion attempt and the home team went to locker room at the half, up 28-12.

Fayetteville would receive the opening kickoff and the Watertown defense did what it needed to do, putting the ball into the hands of its offense while keeping the Tigers out of the endzone. Watertown scored a touchdown with eight minutes left in the third quarter and with the help of the two-point conversion, the deficit for the visitors is at eight, 28-20.

The Tigers stormed back, taking control of the game when Graham Pace, scampered 28 yards to the endzone with under two minutes left in the third quarter. Isaiah Thomison tacked on the field goal for the 35-20 lead.

It was Pace again, midway through the fourth quarter, reaching the endzone to stretch the Fayetteville lead with Thomison’s PAT, 42-20.

Watertown recovered a Tiger fumble on the Fayetteville 20-yard line with four minutes to go but couldn’t convert to points, turning the ball over on downs and watching the Tigers wind down the clock, and celebrate victory in week one.