Playoff brackets set

The Watauga football team released its 2020 schedule, which is the same as it was in 2019, but with the sites of the games flipped.

BOONE — The 2020 Watauga football schedule looks exactly like the 2019 slate. The sites are the only things that have changed.

Watauga will play the same teams in the same order it did in 2019. The only difference are that each game will be in the opposite site it was in during the 2019 season.

Every game Watauga played away from Jack Groce Stadium last season will be a home game for the Pioneers in 2020. Every team Watauga hosted in 2019 will be played on the road this fall. Eight of Watauga’s 11 regular-season opponents played at least one playoff game in 2019.

“It’s the same schedule as of last year except it’s flipped,” Watauga coach Ryan Habich said.

Watauga plays will open the 2020 season at T.C. Roberson on Aug. 21 in Asheville. The Pioneers follow with border rival Ashe County in Boone on Aug. 21.

“They’ll be an explosive offense,” Habich said of T.C. Roberson. “They scored 50 points against A.L. Brown in the first round of the playoffs.”

Watauga follows with one of its toughest regular-season games at home on Sept. 4 against visiting Ronald Reagan, the only team that beat the Pioneers during the regular season. Reagan claimed a 63-35 win over the Pioneers in Pfafftown. Reagan lost in the second round of the state playoffs.

Habich is not as concerned about the Pioneers’ opponents as he is the youth of the Pioneers. Watauga returns two starters on offense and two on defense.

“It is what it is and we already knew it,” Habich said. “Every game is going to be tough for us, because of our inexperience. We’ll have a lot of young players and we’ll try to make the best out of a tough situation.”

Watauga plays its next three games on the road. The Pioneers play at Wilkes Central on Sept. 11, at Gastonia Ashbrook on Sept. 18 and then opens their Northwestern Conference season at South Caldwell on Sept. 25.

Watauga plays its first NWC home game Oct. 2 against visiting Alexander Central on Pink Out, as fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of the defeat of breast cancer. Watauga plays at Hickory on Oct. 9 and then returns home Aug. 16 for homecoming against St. Stephens. Watauga closes out its road schedule at McDowell on Oct. 23 and closes out its regular season at home against rival Freedom on Oct. 30 on Senior Night.

Watauga also gets an open date on the final regular-season weekend of the season. That happened when West Caldwell, which was scheduled to be the Pioneers’ final game of the regular season last year, dropped out of the Northwestern Conference before the season started.

Watauga’s original bye week was scheduled just before the NWC season started. Watauga could not find a willing opponent to play the final week of the season, but found Ashbrook to play during Watauga’s bye in the middle of the season.

The hole in the Pioneers’ schedule left by West Caldwell the final week of the season turned out to be Watauga’s bye week.

“It’s not my favorite time to have a bye week, but it really helped us out last year because we went to far in the playoffs,” Habich said. “Normally it’s tough when you have to play 11 weeks and then have a bye week. It worked out really well for us last year since we played four playoff games, but normally you like to have that bye week in the middle of the season.”

The first round of the state 3-A playoffs are Nov. 13 and the second round is Nov. 20. The third round is Nov. 27 and the 3-A Western finals are Dec 4. The state finals are Dec. 12.

Before the season starts, Watauga plays in two home scrimmages. The Pioneers host Maiden on Aug. 11 and hosts the High Country Jamboree on Aug. 14.

Watauga 2020 football schedule

Date Opponent Time

Aug. 11 MAIDEN (scrimmage) 3 p.m.

Aug. 14 High Country Jamboree 6 p.m.

Aug. 21 at T.C. Roberson 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 28 ASHE COUNTY 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4 REAGAN 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Wilkes Central 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Gastonia Ashbrook 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 25 *at South Caldwell 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 *ALEXANDER CENTRAL 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 9 * Hickory 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 16 * ST. STEPHENS (Homecoming) 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 23 * McDowell 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 30 * FREEDOM 7:30 p.m.

Junior varsity

BOONE — Watauga’s junior varsity football team opens its 2020 season at Ashe County on Aug. 27. The Pioneers visit Reagan on Sept. 3 before opening their home schedule against Wilkes Central on Sept. 10.

The Pioneers are off on Sept. 17 and return to the field to host South Caldwell in the Pioneers’ first Northwestern Conference game Sept. 24. The Pioneers play at Alexander Central on Oct. 1 and host Hickory on Oct. 8 on JV Pink Out Night. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support the first against breast cancer.

Watauga returns to the road to face St. Stephens on Oct. 15, host McDowell on Oct. 22 and play at Freedom on Oct. 29.

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