BOONE — The weather was cloudy and some mist fell from the skies at Jack Groce Stadium Aug. 23 before Watauga’s first football game of the season, which was against visiting T.C. Roberson.
Watauga’s offense delivered the only thunderbolt of the night. Bryce Satterfield, who wasn’t sure that he would even be playing at Watauga until late July, reeled off an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, giving the Pioneers a 6-0 lead that increased with the extra point from Carter Everett.
The run was an indictor of what Watauga’s offense was still capable of doing. The Pioneers scored seven straight touchdowns in their 50-21 victory over the Rams, but none made a bigger impact than the first one.
“It was a good run,” Satterfield said. “I had a good block on the outside. I was really tired after that. I wasn’t ready to run that far.”
The play needed help from several key components to work as well as it did. Head coach Ryan Habich designed the play to get four players blocking downfield to give any extra interference needed.
Then those players had to make those blocks. Habich said those blocks weren’t crunching-style hits, but good enough to get Satterfield through.
“They weren’t great blocks, but they got in someone’s way and when you get in people’s way and you have guys like Bryce and Jaiden running the football, it gives you a chance to score,” Habich said.
Three more things had to happen for the Pioneers’ play to work. Watauga’s offensive line had to make their blocks up front, so he could not be trapped in the backfield. That wasn’t an issue since nobody from the Roberson defensive front got close to Satterfield on the run.
“It’s nice having Bryce back,” Watauga center Sterling Sauls said. “I knew right off the bat we blocked it right and once I saw Bryce go through that hole, I knew he was gone because he’s got good speed. The way we started off definitely hit them in the mouth.”
Then Castle had to make the correct read on the option. Castle saw Satterfield had an opening, so he pitched the ball.
Then Satterfield had to hit the hole, turn on his speed and he was on his way to the Pioneers’ first touchdown of the season.
“It was an option,” Castle said. “I was reading the guy on the end and I knew they weren’t going to be able to catch Bryce. Then it’s just perimeter blocking from that and with Bryce’s speed, it works out pretty good.”
The play was a sharp contrast to the type of play calling the Pioneers did during two preseason scrimmages. The Pioneers were concentrating on the basics during the beginning of fall workouts, according to Sauls, and kept the fancy stuff to themselves.
Sauls said there’s more work for the offense to do.
“During the scrimmages we weren’t doing motions and all the stuff we do in games,” Sauls said. “Everybody was still learning their plays and we still have work to do. During the last week of practice we definitely got everything down. We still have a lot of work, but it was good enough for a win.”
Watauga’s running statistics, including Satterfield’s, were impressive. The senior, who nearly missed the season after moving to Louisville, Ky., with his family, gained 170 yards on just 11 carries, and the Pioneers gained 592 yards in total offense.
It didn’t take long to get the first 80.