The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 20, 2011

Mike Mastovich | Watson a game-changer in every sense of the word

Mike Mastovich
mmastovich@tribdem.com

— Tony Penna Jr. has had to good fortune to coach numerous playmakers who have put the Johnstown team ahead of individual goals during the past two seasons.

The undefeated Trojans frequently have turned to the likes of Gervon Simon, Alkwan Williams, Dwight Andrews and Tim Odum for a big play or momentum swaying effort.

Penna sees in Mark Watson perhaps one of the best at making all the right moves at just the right time.

For instance, Watson’s

100-yard interception return for a touchdown against rival Bishop McCort prevented the Crushers from potentially tying the score at 7-all and instead gave the Trojans a 14-0 advantage in a game Johnstown eventually won 41-20.

“A pick-6 out of the end zone, that’s about as good as it gets,” said Penna, whose 7-0 team has a Friday date at 1-6 Central Cambria.

Watson leads the area with five interceptions and obviously, no one has had a longer return for a touchdown.

But the 5-foot-11 senior has filled a number of key roles for the Trojans. Watson can play receiver, as evidenced by his 19 receptions – tied for the team lead – for 403 yards, an average of 21.2 per catch. He can be used in the backfield, often running reverses while gaining 137 yards or 5.96 a carry. Sometimes, he’s a decoy for opponents to ponder.

“Mark Watson is the most dynamic player in this whole area,” Penna said. “We have a lot of great players on this team but as far as a dynamic game-changer, he does it. Every time he steps on the field for us, you have to account for him. He makes so many other people go. He’s so unselfish. He’s a great athlete and he’s dynamic. You have to prepare for him. He’s one special ballplayer.”

Watson had two interceptions against McCort and caught two balls for 75 yards.

“Mark could be the every down guy with 13 or 14 touches a quarter, (but) he just goes out and does his business,” Penna said. “Sometimes he’s even a decoy. He’s made our run game go.”



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