PFAFFTOWN — Usually when a prep football team scores 35 points in a game, a victory goes with it.
Watauga’s football team wasn’t so lucky against Reagan on Sept. 6. Watauga rolled up 374 yards in total offense against the Raiders, but Reagan’s offense scored the first nine times it had possession of the ball and took a 63-35 victory over the visiting Pioneers.
The only time Reagan (3-0) did not score when it had possession was when the Raiders were running out the clock to end the game.
Watauga coach Ryan Habich never likes to lose, but hopes this loss can be used to show the Pioneers (2-1) what they need to work on to improve going into their game Sept. 13 against West Wilkes and the rest of the season.
“I didn’t like the mistakes, but I like that we were exposed,” Habich said. “From a teaching part, I like that we were exposed because now, our 16-17-year olds, now they can learn and when they do this in practice, this is what coach (Klay) Anderson, coach Habich and coach (Dustin) Kerley are saying. I don’t like losing, but I like it when it’s a non-conference game. We want to win the conference games.”
Watauga (2-1) actually scored first on a 30-yard touchdown run by Jaiden Bond and then added a two-point conversion on an Anderson Castle run to lead 8-0. But Reagan scored five of the game’s next six touchdowns to take a 42-15 lead the Pioneers could not recover from.
“When you play a team like this, there’s no doubt that we were severely overmatched,” Habich said. “When you play a team like this, you have to make plays and you can’t have touchdowns called back and when you have an opportunity to make a play, you have to make it.”
Reagan’s offense was simply too fast and physical for the Pioneers to handle. The Raiders finished with 474 yards in total offense, including 342 in rushing. The Raiders churned out 30 first downs and converted all five of its third-down plays into first downs.
Reagan quarterback Gabriel Hollingsworth directly had his hands in five of the Raiders’ touchdowns by running for three and passing for two. The Columbia-bound senior completed 11-of-13 passes for 132 yards and ran for 88 yards on just five carries. He scored touchdown runs of five, nine and 11 yards.
“We thought we would have more athletes and there were some things we could do to utilize our size and our strength,” Reagan coach Josh McGee said. “You still have to execute, and our guys did a really good job against a really good football team.”
That speed was also used on the special teams. Reagan converted the kickoff it received after Bond’s first touchdown into a Tazhae Woods 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Daniel Moyer Jr. led all rushers with 149 yards and two touchdowns, and Woods added 54 yards on just three carries.
Watauga had been moving the ball against a Reagan defense that was also physical and fast, but struggled with the Pioneers’ veer-option attack. Watauga, which scored a touchdown in the first quarter on 49-yard Castle touchdown run, was called for holding and the play was nullified.
Castle was intercepted on the Pioneers’ next play at the Pioneers’ 40-yard line and Reagan scored five plays later on a 5-yard run by Hollingsworth. Instead of possibly leading 15-7, the Pioneers were left trailing 14-8.
“We knew going in that they would have to make mistakes for us to stop them,” Habich said. “I thought we could move the ball on them, which we did. We had a touchdown called back and we could have gone up 15-7, and the game is a lot different when you’re trading scores.”
Castle got another chance to score on a strange play with 5:42 left in the third quarter. Trailing 42-15, the Pioneers marched deep into Reagan territory with the help of a 15-yard Castle pass to Grant Oliver, and a 37-yard Castle run that ended at the Reagan 1-yard line.
Castle then reached the end zone on the next play, but fumbled after he broke the plane of the line. Reagan recovered the fumble, but the officials had to take extra time to discuss the outcome of the play before finally ruling that Castle had scored.
Reagan answered with a Sanchez Redden 9-yard touchdown, but Bond broke a 48-yard touchdown run to bring Watauga to within 49-28. Again, Reagan answered with a touchdown, this time a Moyer Jr. 10-yard score.
But again, Watauga broke a big play, this time a 44-yard Bryce Satterfield touchdown to leave the Pioneers behind 56-35 with 11:35 left in the game. Satterfield gained 116 yards on 14 carries, while Bond gained 102 yards on just five carries.
Castle added 90 yards on 20 carries. Sebastian Best had just 10 yards on two carries, but one of those totes was a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter that brought the Pioneers to within 21-15.
Best’s touchdown was set up by Bond, who connected with Oliver on a 40-yard option pass that left the Pioneers with a first-and-goal at the 7-yard line.
“They’re a good defense and I liked the way we moved the ball against a good defense,” Habich said. “A lot of people don’t realize they played Mount Tabor in week one and Mount Tabor didn’t score an offensive touchdown.”
Reagan 63, Watauga 35
Watauga 8 7 13 7 — 35
Reagan 14 21 21 7 — 63
W—Bond 30 run (Castle run)
R—Woods 75 kickoff return (Hill kick)
R—Hollingsworth 5 run (Hill kick)
R—Moyer Jr. 2 run (Hill kick)
W—Best 4 run (Everett kick)
R—Hollingsworth 9 run (Hill kick)
R—Canty 14 pass from Hollingsworth (Hill kick)
R—Revel 25 pass from Hollingsworth (Hill kick)
W—Castle 1 run (Kick failed)
R—Redden 9 run (Hill kick)
W—Bond 48 run (Everett kick)
W—Satterfield 44 run (Everett kick)
R—Hollingsworth 11 run (Hill kick)
First downs 20 30
By rushing 13 22
By passing 2 8
By penalty 5 0
Rushes-yards 41-318 33-342
Avg. per rush 7.8 10.4
Passing yards 56 132
Passes 2-4-1 11-14-0
Avg. per pass 28.0 12.0
Total plays-yards 45-374 47-474
Avg. per play 8.3 10.1
Punts-avg. 2-47.0 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-40 8-85
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Time of poss. 25:50 21:39
Third down conv. 4-8 5-5
Rushing: Watauga—Satterfield 14-1116, Bond 5-102, Castle 20-90, Best 2-10; Reagan—Moyer Jr. 17-149, Hollingsworth 5-88, Woods 3-54, Redden 7-54, Canty 1-(-3).
Passing: Watauga—Castle 1-3-1 16, Bond 1-1-0 40; Reagan Hollingsworth 11-13-0 132, Team 0-1-0 0.
Receiving: Watauga—Oliver 2-56; Reagan—Canty 5-63, Revel 3-45, Woods 1-12, Redden 1-9, Cotton 1-3.