Multi-sport Watson signs with Orange City
Mo Watson had set aside his thoughts of playing football in college, deciding baseball was the way to go.
He got more exposure playing baseball than football, simply because of how the seasons lined up. By playing baseball in the summer, he often missed out on various football recruiting camps.
Watson toured with his sights set on baseball, but he got an email from the football coaches, asking if he’d like to become a dual-sport athlete.
“I just thought baseball would be the best fit for me, but when the opportunity presented itself to play both, it’s something I’d regret if I didn’t try,” Watson said. “I love both sports so much.”
Watson starred for both the football and baseball programs at Ankeny High School.
He was named a captain for his final season with the football team, playing linebacker.
“That was big for me, because it showed the team believed in me to help lead them down the right path,” he said.
Watson notched 53 total tackles in the fall, with 28 solo stops - both second-best marks on the team. He also tied for a team lead with a pair of fumble recoveries. Watson managed to get behind the line of scrimmage, too, totaling eight tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Watson was a defensive anchor on an Ankeny team that made it to the 4A state quarterfinals back in November. Ankeny defeated Southeast Polk in the first round before falling to Dowling in its final game of the season.
It was that win over Southeast Polk that will always stick with Watson as one of his favorite memories with the Hawk football team.
“(I remember) the atmosphere from that game and how competitive it was,” he said. “It came down to the wire and we won. It was one of our first playoff wins in quite some time. That was probably one of my favorite memories because of how awesome that was and how the fans were swarming our bus after the game and high-fiving us.”
But last season with the Hawk baseball team, Watson proved yet again to be a reliable force at the plate. Playing mostly as a catcher, he ranked in the team’s top-four in terms of batting average (.289), hits (35), and RBIs (22).
Ankeny baseball head coach Joe Balvanz described Watson as “one of the first kids there, and the last to leave.”
“He’s one of those kids that recognizes where growth needs to occur, and he’s willing to put the time in and get himself to where he needs to be,” Balvanz said. “He’s a person of tremendous character, a great teammate, and a really good high school baseball player.”
On May 6, Watson was named Ankeny High School’s Bernie Saggau Award winner.
According to Saggau’s website, the award “honors an outstanding citizen athlete in every one of the 400 high schools in the State of Iowa.”
“Not only is he a multi-sport guy, he has tremendous character and is a model for what we would hope a student-athlete should look like,” Balvanz said. “That’s Mo, in a nutshell.”Adam Hensley is a freelance journalist who writes our sports notebooks for the Ankeny Press Citizen and the Altoona Press Herald. For additional content, you can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83.Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal.