BOONE — The Watauga junior varsity team ran into a Reagan team that was bigger and faster at Jack Groce Stadium.
There have been times when Watauga has been able to work around those factors and find a way to win. Reagan made sure that didn’t happen in its 42-8 victory that was played with a running clock with less than eight minutes left in the third quarter after taking a 42-0 lead.
Reagan took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and then scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 35-0 halftime advantage. Instead of dwelling on the final score, Watauga coach Marshall Thomas wanted to use the game as a learning tool for future games.
“This was a great experience for our guys and their development,” Thomas said. “They get to experience some adversity — that string of adversity in the second quarter. They came out in the second half and actually won the second half 8-7.”
After the Raiders went in front 42-0, they went on another drive that the Pioneers stopped at the Watauga 20-yard line.
The Pioneers started to move the ball by giving it to Andrew Geouque, and with a long pass from Colin Phelps to Carlton Horine. Phelps also found Horine in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass and the ensuing two-point conversion to keep the Pioneers from being shut out.
“They came out in the second half and scored first and we were able to answer with a score and a two-point conversion,” Thomas said. “The fact that our guys could come back from something like that speaks volumes to their development and their character.”
Watauga got the ball back because of a Reagan turnover at the Pioneers’ 49-yard line with 1:55 left in the game, and a Phelps 11-yard completion to Horine landed the Pioneers another first down, but the clock ran out before Watauga could get close enough to score.
Watauga plays at Wilkes Central on Sept. 12.