BOONE — Watauga football coach Ryan Habich said that Pioneers running back Bryce Satterfield will be out of action “indefinitely” after the senior back injured his knee against Wilkes Central at Jack Groce Stadium Sept. 13.
As of mid-day Sept. 16, Habich had not heard the results of the MRI done on Satterfield’s knee on Sept. 17, but did not anticipate the running back’s return, at least in the near future.
“He’ll be out,” Habich said. “I don’t know the extent of it, but he’ll be out indefinitely.”
Satterfield returned to Boone in August to play football and attend Watauga High School in his senior year, after living with his family in Louisville, Ky., over the spring and summer. He was covering a kickoff in the first quarter.against Wilkes Central when he was blocked.
The helmet of the Wilkes Central player, who blocked him, hit Satterfield on the knee. He went down to the turf and was then helped off the field.
Satterfield emerged from a medical tent on the Watauga sideline in crutches and with an ice pack on his knee. Jake Watson was moved from tight end to the running back position and will be the starter there when Gastonia Ashbrook invades Jack Groce Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20.
Watson will have to be replaced at tight end. Habich said Orlando Leon, Lamon Partee and freshman Isaiah Shirley will be rotated into Watson’s former position.
“We may have to find more people at B-back too,” Habich said. “We’re kind of shuffling people around trying to find the best 11 to put on the field.”
Satterfield finished with 35 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run, on just six carries before leaving the game. He also gained 388 yards and scored seven touchdowns on 43 carries overall in the season.
Watson gained 17 yards on three carries against Wilkes Central, but also scored a touchdown.
“It’s tough,” Watauga wingback Jaiden Bond said after the game Sept. 13. “We’ll feel it in the long run. Bryce is tough and he’ll bounce back from it. We have the next-man up mentality, so we have to be ready.”
Watauga went through a similar situation at the start of the 2018 season when starting quarterback Anderson Castle injured his wrist. He missed six games because of the injury, but senior backup quarterback Jackson Greene led the Pioneers to victories in each game Castle missed.
“We’re going to have to have some guys step up,” Castle said also after the Wilkes Central game. “The same thing happened to me last year and Jackson stepped up. We’re going to have to have Jake step up and a lot of other guys are going to do the same for sure. We all love Bryce, but we’re still going to get better.”
Habich said Satterfield and Watson bring different skills to the running back position. Satterfield’s speed made him a threat to break off a long run from either running through the middle of the line to running outside for a touchdown.
Watson is more of a power back who will be used on short-run situations and is less likely to score on a long run.
“Bryce was probably faster on the football field than he was in the 400-meter dash,” Habich said. “He had really good speed, so with Bryce, we ran the ball in the middle, but we also were able to get him outside to use his speed. Bryce was able to make those real long runs.”
Habich said Watson brings an added dimension of blocking like an offensive lineman, especially along the perimeter. Other players such as quarterback Anderson Castle and wingbacks Bond, Grant Oliver and Sebastian Best will do more perimeter running.
“Jake is more of a power runner and he’ll make a better blocker,” Habich said. “With that being said, we’ll try to run the quarterback more and the wings more. We’ll have Jake be the lead blocker, and he will also run the football. Jake is going to be a good B-back, but we’re not going to expect him to do the same things that Bryce did on the perimeter running the football.”
Castle leads the Pioneers in rushing with 544 yards on 71 carries. He has also scored nine touchdowns and averages 7.7 yards per rush.
Bond is third on the Pioneers in rushing with 315 yards and has scored four touchdowns. Best missed the game against Wilkes Central because of a concussion suffered the week before at Reagan, is next with 159 yards and three touchdowns, while Oliver has rained 137 yards on just five carries, an average of 27.4 yards per rush.
“Obviously Jake brings a different skill set to the position,” Habich said. “We’ll have to adapt to his skill sets and use Jaiden and use Grant Oliver for some of the outside runs that Bryce used to get a lot of throughout the year.”