Pioneers dominant as they pick up career win No. 99 for head coach
BOONE – Jackson Greene threw for two early scores and ran for another, and Eli Suggs posted 16 tackles as Watauga High made a showdown for first place in Northwestern 3A-4A football on Friday night a mismatch.
The Pioneers rolled 35-0 over previously unbeaten and visiting Alexander Central, improving to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the league as head coach Ryan Habich picked up career win No. 99.
Watauga outgained Alexander Central 380-205 – getting 305 of those yards on the ground – as the Cougars dropped to 5-1, 1-1 after losing in Boone for the fourth straight time.
Running back Bryce Satterfield had a game-high 144 yards rushing on 19 carries for Watauga while Greene added 62 yards on eight carries and completed two of his six passes for 57 yards.
Watauga scored in the opening three minutes, going up 7-0 when Greene threw 51 yards to Grant Oliver for a TD and Kryan Densham added a PAT.
About six minuters later, the Pioneer completed a 60-yard drive with a 24-yard pass from Greene to Jaiden Bond and another PAT by Densham for a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
Watauga led 21-0 at the half, scoring again on a 21-yard run by Greene.
The only score of the third quarter was Bond’s 62-yard run with 11 minutes, 46 seconds left in the quarter.
The final score, with about seven minutes to go, was a 2-yard run by quarterback Anderson Castle, who returned to action for the first time since the opening quarter of Watauga’s first game. He was injured in that game and had not played since.
Watauga’s defense, led by Suggs with 11 tackles and five assists, held the Cougars’ usually powerful offense to 148 yards rushing on 40 carries.
A.J. Miller led Alexander Central with 66 yards on 14 carries, and Tevin Clark added 51 on 15 carries. Miller also had four catches for 51 yards on throws from quarterback Easton Rhoney.
Braeden Myers had eight tackles and Castle and Zach West each had five to help spark the Watauga defense.
Jamison Benfield’s eight tackles led the Cougars with Jordan Brown and JaiKwaun Tilley adding six each and Lucas Walker making five stops, including 1 ½ for lost yardage.
There were no fumbles in the game, and Watauga had one interception (by Bond).
Watauga had the ball only 20 seconds more than Alexander Central, but the Pioneers went 6-for-9 on third-down conversions to the Cougars’ 2-for-9.
The loss was only the eighth in 30 games for Butch Carter as head coach at Alexander Central.
Habich picked up his 49th win in 68 games since becoming Watauga’s head coach six years ago.
Alexander Central still leads the series in games played since 1980 at 23-19 but the Cougars are 8-12 in their last 20 trips to the mountains.
Next up for Watauga is a league game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hickory while the Cougars will be at home, also at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, to battle Freedom in a conference game.