Leading the option

Watauga quarterback Anderson Castle was one of three Pioneers to gain more than 100 yards in the Pioneers’ playoffs win over Cuthbertson. Castle was named the Player of the Year by the Northwestern Conference coaches.

HICKORY — Anderson Castle, Jaiden Bond and Ryan Habich received three of the top postseason honors in the Northwestern 4-A Conference Dec. 7.

Castle, Watauga’s quarterback, was named the NWC’s Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Bond, who played cornerback defensively and wingback offensively, was named the Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Habich was also named Coach of the Year.

Watauga also placed linemen Dakota Silver, Adrion Cassidy, Sterling Sauls, Grant Lawrence and Matthew Grambow on the team.

Linebacker and running back Jake Watson, wingback and defensive back Sebastian Best, linebackers Orlando Leon and Eli Towle, defensive back Mitchell Greene and receiver Grant Oliver were named All-NWC.

The voting was released by the NWC Dec. 7 following Watauga’s 49-14 loss to Weddington in the 3-AA state football playoffs.

Castle finished the 2019 season rushing for 2,223 yards on 251 carries. He also scored 36 rushing touchdowns, and passed for 1,190 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Bond made 57.5 tackles, including four for a loss of yardage, and returned three interceptions for 47 yards.

Bond also rushed for 1,584 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He caught 18 passes for 539 yards and five touchdowns and completed three passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.

Habich guided the Pioneers to a second straight unbeaten conference season and a conference championship. Watauga finished 13-2 overall this season, 7-0 in the NWC and advanced into the fourth round of the state 3-AA playoffs.

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