BOONE — Gastonia Ashbrook and Watauga both run a version of the option with the idea of keeping defenses honest when it comes to who exactly is running the football.
Watauga’s version proved to be more effective than Ashbrook’s at Watauga’s Jack Groce Stadium Friday night. The top-seeded Pioneers overwhelmed visiting 16th seed Green Wave 49-0 in the first round of the state 3AA football playoffs, leaving Ashbrook with a season ending record of 5-8.
Watauga (12-0), the Northwestern Conference champion, took a 21- 0 halftime lead and rolled up 449 yards of total offense in just 35 plays, an average of 12.8 per snap. The Pioneers outgained Ashbrook 382-128 yards in rushing and was especially effective running between the tackles.
The Pioneers host eighth-seeded Winston-Salem Parkland, a 32-19 winner over Asheville Friday night.
“We had a great week of practice,” Watauga coach Ryan Habich said. “We were really blessed to have the turf fields and we were able to practice outside. We had a great season where we were 11-0 and won a conference championship and we came back Monday hungry and ready to work.”
“We knew what kind of team they were,” Ashbrook coach Brian Andrews said. “We felt like with the option they ran and the option we run it was going to be a physical matchup. I know they’re well-coached and we had a chance to put some points on the board, but we only had one drive when we chewed up on any clock and we didn’t get any points at all, so it was very frustrating for us because we put our defense in bad situations.”
That drive took place in the second quarter when the Green Wave started at its own 20-yard line and used 18 plays and converted two third downs and a fourth down to march to the Watauga 27-yard line.
The ending of the drive started on first down with a fumble that Ashbrook recovered, but lost three yards. The Green Wave faced a fourth-and-10 from the 27 when an option pass from Jakai Grier fell incomplete.
“Defensively, to get another shutout like that against an option offense where you’ve got to play assignment football, we had a few lapses where we didn’t pick the right person,” Habich said. “But for the most part, we did the right thing defensively.”
Watauga had no such problems with consistency on offense. Pioneers running back Bryce Satterfield finished with 175 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 53, and 25 yards on 10 carries. Pioneers quarterback Anderson Castle gained 112 yards on nine carries and scored touchdown runs of 16 and 13 yards.
Castle also completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Grant Oliver that gave the Pioneers their 21-0 lead. Watauga torpedoed any realistic chance of a Green Wave comeback with Satterfield’s 53-yard TD on the first play of the third quarter. His second touchdown run put the Pioneers in front 42-0 with 3:26 left in the third quarter, which triggered the 42-point mercy rule.
Ben Critcher added an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Ashbrook countered with freshman quarterback Chandler Meeks, who ran the ball 10 times for 46 yards and completed one of his two passes for eight yards. Watauga held Kendall Massey to 45 yards on 24 carries.
Watauga 49, Ashbrook 0
Ashbrook 0 0 0 0 — 0
Watauga 14 7 21 7 — 49
WHS—Castle 16 run (Densham kick)
WHS—West 8 run (Densham kick)
WHS—Oliver 26 yards from Castle (Densham kick)
WHS—Satterfield 53 run (Densham kick)
WHS—Castle 13 run (Densham kick)
WHS—Satterfield 25 run (Densham kick)
WHS—Critcher 8 run (Densham kick)
First downs 9 22
By rushing 8 20
By passing 1 2
By penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 47-128 31-382
Avg. per rush 2.7 12.3
Passing yards 8 67
Passes 1-4-1 2-4-1
Avg. per att. 8.0 33.5
Punts 4-30. 3 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-5 2-15
Fumbles-lost 6-1 1-0
Third down conv. 4-12 1-1
Fourth down conv. 2-5 0-0
Time of poss. 30:14 17:24
Rushing: Ashbrook—Meeks 10-46, Massey 24-45, Grier 7-23, Brooks 3-9, Boyce 2-6; Watauga—Satterfield 10-175, Castle 9-112, West 3-31, Bond 3-28, Harmon 2-11, Greene 1-9, Critcher 1-8.
Passing: Ashbrook—Meeks 1-2-1 8, Grier 0-2-0 0; Castle 2-4-1 67.
Receiving: Ashbrook—Brooks 1-8; Watauga—Bond 1-41, Oliver 1-26.ß