BOONE — As with any prep football coach, Ryan Habich has had several positions to fill for the 2019 Pioneers because of seniors graduating or because of players not returning to the program.
Rising senior Bryce Satterfield is not one of them.
Satterfield, Watauga’s leading rusher in 2018, will play his senior season at Watauga. Satterfield’s decision was confirmed by Habich, who said Satterfield will play a variety of positions, including his familiar running back.
Habich learned of Satterfield’s return the final week of July. Habich said Satterfield enrolled at Watauga High School July 30 and attended the Pioneers’ first official practice Aug. 1.
“Obviously we’re pleased to have him back,” Habich said. “He was a good player for us. I think his parents wanted him to finish at Watauga High School and be a senior and finish out this one year. They’re making that sacrifice for him to finish here and graduate from Watauga High School.”
Satterfield led the team with 1,661 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2018. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry and helped lead Watauga to a 13-1 overall record 7-0 in the Northwestern Conference and a conference championship.
Satterfield’s future with Watauga was in doubt when his father, Scott Satterfield, was named head football coach of the ACC’s Louisville Cardinals in December. Bryce Satterfield moved to Kentucky to be with his family.
Habich said there was a change in plans and Satterfield has returned to Boone with his mother, Beth Satterfield.
“He went to Louisville and moved back,” Habich said.
Habich said having Satterfield back on the roster gives the Pioneers some flexibility in their lineup. Habich said Satterfield would play running back, H-back and could also play some wingback.
His arrival also frees his potential replacement, Jake Watson, to play both running back and tight end, where he played last season. Watson caught four passes for 23 yards and a touchdown in 2018.
Watson will also play defense. Habich said Satterfield could also end up playing for a defense that was hit hard by graduation, particularly in the secondary with NWC Player of the Year Jackson Greene graduating.
“(Satterfield) gives us a little more versatility,” Habich said. “He will play B-back and he will play some wingback. He will run some plays where he’ll be running outside like him and Jaiden (Bond) outside. We’ll still use Jake Watson at H-back and tight end and B-back, so it gives us more versatility.”
Habich said Satterfield could find himself at outside linebacker, a position the Pioneers have been concerned about since spring workouts.
“We’ll be able to put Bryce on defense too,” Habich said. “Getting Bryce back opens the door for — with him we have three dynamic wings with Jaiden Bond and Zach West and then Jake can add depth at H-back with Watson, Orlando Leon and Lamon Partee. One more guy can add lots of depth.”