Minium: Blake Watson broke 1,000 yard mark the hard way for ODU football team
Through Harry mini
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina – When he sits down for an interview you realize that Blake watson isn’t he such a tall guy, definitely not as tall as he plays in an Old Dominion soccer jersey.
At 5-foot-9, 193 pounds, he barely resembles the running back who, when surrounded by a 300-pound defensive lineman, breaks a tackle, then stiffens a linebacker and squirms and shoots every inch he can. .
Watson became only the second player in ODU history to run over 1,000 yards in one season this year, and he did it the hard way. Although he has skillful moves in the open field, he has gained many of his 1,035 yards ram-like.
“He has a tenacity and fearlessness that you wouldn’t expect when you see him off the pitch,” said Tony lucas, the ODU running backs coach.
Watson played a key role in the ODU season-ending run, when the Monarchs won their last five games to finish 6-6 and become bowl eligible. He ran over 100 yards in four of those wins, including 106 yards and two touchdowns in ODU’s last game, a 56-34 victory over Charlotte.
The victory propelled ODU into the Myrtle Beach Bowl, where the Monarchs meet Tulsa on Monday at 2:30 p.m. at Brooks Field at Coastal Carolina University.
In the middle of this race, Watson made it clear that he is not running for himself. He did this for ODU seniors, especially sixth grade seniors Jordan Young and
Joe joe headen, who are her roommates and have never played in a game of bowls.
“This is their last year,” he said after a win over Florida Atlantic. “I want them to have a winning season. I want them to go to a bowl game. I want them to come out on top.”
Headen smiled when he heard what Watson said.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “Blake is such a great guy.”
It comes from his family, especially his parents, Carlton and Alexis, who worked hard, sacrificed and focused their lives on their two sons, including Brad, who is four years older than Blake.
“I take my hat off to them,” Lucas said. “Family is so important to them. They are such great parents.”
Carlton and Alexis met on the infamous Rikers Island, New York City’s gigantic prison complex located on an island between Queens and the Bronx that houses 10,000 prisoners every day.
They were both correctional officers who met almost three decades ago. They were single, had a passion for law enforcement, a deep Christian faith, and felt instant chemistry.
They have been married for 27 years and have given everything for their sons.
They lived in Queens and managed their schedules so that someone could always be with their sons, who immediately turned to track and field – football, baseball and basketball.
Working at Rikers was “hard work,” Alexis said, but added: “It was well paid and we were able to support our family with our income.”
Both boys finally turned to football. And when Carlton and Alexis retired, they decided to increase their stakes and move their sons to Austin, Texas.
It has helped that Texas does not tax retirement income. But the main reason they moved was to give their boys a better life.
“When we retired we were kind of watching the Friday Night Lights thing,” Carlton said of the book, movie and TV show reveling in the oversized importance of high school football. in the Lone Star State.
“When we went to Austin, and when we saw the house prices and what the schools are doing there, we were sold.”
Alexis said football was not a major factor.
“We wanted to take our boys to a different place, to a different environment than New York,” she said. “A safe place, a place where we thought they could really do it.”
Blake went to a year of elementary school and then to college in Austin. Then, when his brother accepted a football scholarship to Wake Forest, the family again moved to Green Hope, North Carolina. Carlson and Alexis wanted to see Brad play and also wanted to be closer to their family, both in New York City and in Tar Heel State.
Carlton and Alexis work for County Durham Public Schools as teaching assistants and enjoy traveling to every ODU football game.
Blake said moving twice in such a short time had forced him to grow taller.
“It taught me to make new friends and meet new people,” he said. “But it was really weird. The way people talk in Texas, it was hard to get used to.
“Getting around has taught me that I can live in any environment.”
Watson arrived at ODU in 2018, when the Monarchs upset nationally ranked Virginia Tech but finished 4-8. He played in three games as wide receiver and on special teams while wearing red shirts.
He was one of the few bright spots for the Monarchs in 2019, when ODU finished 1-11. He was on the Conference USA All-Freshman team as a punt returner, averaging 24 returns for 26.4 yards, and caught 13 passes for 79 yards to wide receiver and runner. .
But he also carried the ball 25 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. After a new coaching staff took over at the end of the 2019 season, Watson was finally transferred permanently to the running back.
Football is a difficult game for everyone involved, but especially for the ball carriers. No one else on the pitch consistently takes such a physical pounding as the guys who bow their heads and rush at defenders.
“I know I’m going to be hit in every game,” Watson said. “But it’s a job I’m ready to do. I put my body on the line for my teammates.
“Nobody wants to do a quick pickup. Who wants to stop a linebacker from running full speed with a five-yard lead?
“But it’s something you have to do to help your team. You have to do it to win games.”
The Head Coach Ricky rahne started spring training earlier this year telling his players that there is a difference between being injured and enduring pain. Watson has missed two games this season due to injuries.
For most of the rest, he endured the pain.
“It comes with the territory,” Lucas said. “With most guys you never really know how badly they are in pain.”
Watson said he would never have played in 10 games if he wasn’t for the head athletic coach Justin walker and assistant sports trainer Angela Moing, who treated every bruise, muscle strain, and pain.
Alexis said she sometimes grinds her teeth when she sees her son buried under 1,000 pounds of defensive players.
“At this point I’m used to it,” she said. “I’m still waiting for him to get up.
“Of course I pray. I’m a praying mom. And when he gets up it doesn’t mean he’s not hurt. But he gets up and tries to continue.”
The Watsons will be bringing more than 40 family and friends to Myrtle Beach on Monday. It’s only hours from Durham, and family and friends cram into cars and vans.
“We are so proud of Blake,” Carlson said. “He was a wide receiver and now he handles the ball so well. He worked so hard.”
When reminded of what he said about his roommates after the win over FAU, Blake said winning against Tulsa was just as important as making the bowl game.
“I know what we’ve been doing this season, winning our last five games, it was amazing,” he said. “I am proud of what we have done.
“But winning this bowl game would be the icing on the cake. I want to win this game as much as I always wanted to win any game.”