MAIDEN — Watauga head football coach Ryan Habich has built the Pioneers’ football program on the cornerstones of hard work and discipline. When the Pioneers lack either or both, the results can be disappointing.
Watauga brought 70 players to participate in a scrimmage at Maiden Aug. 10 with mixed results. The Pioneers scored two touchdowns during the segment that had each teams run 10 plays, which included a 1-yard run from Bryce Satterfield and another score on a 7-yard keeper from backup quarterback Jaiden Bond.
Stopping Maiden was a different story, especially during the segment of the scrimmage that had the teams simulating game-style situations. Maiden scored three touchdowns and had another called back because of a penalty.
Watauga’s offense did not pick up a first down in both of its possessions.
The scrimmage left Pioneers coach Ryan Habich and his staff plenty of film to look at over the weekend and work to be done before the Pioneers’ next live action, a jamboree on Aug. 15 at App State’s Kidd Brewer Stadium that also features Ashe County. Watauga won’t scrimmage against Ashe since the teams play in West Jefferson on Aug. 30.
“Our main goal in a scrimmage is to get kids on film and see how they can play,” Habich said. “The good thing for us is for our kids’ response to adversity.”
Habich said he could live with mistakes during the scrimmage. He was not pleased with how the Pioneers responded to making those mistakes. He said that Watauga’s players have to remember that 2019 is a new season and the 2018 season, which ended with a 13-1 overall record, a 7-0 Northwestern Conference record and league championship and a berth into the fourth round of the state 3-AA playoffs, is over.
“Like I told them, we’re not a very good football team,” Habich said. “We’re a very average team. We have a few skill position guys who came back and then had good stats, but we’re a JV football team. We’re not the same team, but the goal is to be the same team by Aug. 23 and definitely by conference.”
Habich would like the scrimmage and the film study to serve as teaching moments for the practices that lead to the jamboree and to the following game against T.C. Roberson.
“We lost a lot of guys who could provide that leadership like Jackson Greene, Zach West, Eli Suggs and Ben Critcher. Even the role players like Eli Bentley, we’re missing those guys, so we really have got to develop our chemistry.”
Habich pointed to a couple of situations during the scrimmage that showed a lack of focus and discipline. During Watauga’s first set of downs in the game-situations segment, the Pioneers ran the same play three times, but did not block it correctly, according to Habich.
The second breakdown happened on the fourth play of that stretch when quarterback Anderson Castle was gang tackled along the Maiden sideline, which stopped him two yards from reaching what is usually a makeable first down.