WEST JEFFERSON — When Ashe County takes on rival Watauga in football, the differences in the two offenses are obvious.

Ashe County’s “Air Raid” offense is much different than the Watauga emphasis on running the football with a veer option. On Aug. 30 at Ashe’s stadium, Watauga’s running game provided the Pioneers with a 56-7 victory over Ashe.

Watauga (2-0) used its running game to churn out 480 yards rushing on 47 carries. The Pioneers outgained Ashe County 496-168 in total yardage as the Huskies (0-2) finished with 135 yards passing.

Despite the differences in the score and the total yardage, Huskies coach Brian Hampton was proud of how his defense stood up to the Pioneers, winners of 15 straight regular season games. Watauga scored just one touchdown from a single-play drive, an 80-yard run by Sebastian Best, with 6:22 left in the game.

All of the other Watauga drives were multi-play marches that were not quick strike touchdowns.

“One thing, and I know it’s hard for people to understand, but I’ve proud of our defense,” Hampton said. “I don’t like giving up 56 points, but they only had one, one-play drive against us this year. For the most part, they had to earn it. They sustained drives of five, six, seven or eight plays. I think they had to earn their yards.”

Ashe County also had to earn its yards. The Huskies settled for 168 total yards, including just 33 on the ground.

Watauga’s defense had to contend with Ashe County quarterback Dawson Cox’s passing for much of the night. Cox was coming off a 461-yard, five touchdown performance in a loss to Avery County on Aug. 23, but was limited to completing 13-of-26 passes for 135 yards in the game.

Ashe County surprised Watauga with a touchdown late in the first half. A 39-yard Cox completion to Kaden Burgess got the ball down to the Watauga six-yard line, and a roughing the passer penalty on Watauga on the next play cost the Pioneers not just three penalty yards, but an interception.

On the following play, Ashe running back Timothy Peterson scored from 3-yards out with 10.7 seconds left in the first half, leaving Watauga with a 28-7 halftime lead.

“At times we were running the ball good,” Hampton said of the Huskies’ passing game. “We got away from it a little bit. When you get down by a lot you try to get more yards quicker. When we had time I thought we were fine.”

Watauga quarterback Anderson Castle led the Pioneers in rushing with 168 yards on 21 carries. Castle has gained 374 yards rushing and scored eight touchdowns in Watauga’s first two games.

Best added 111 yards on just five carries Aug. 30. He is the second Pioneer — Bryce Satterfield was the first — who has scored on an 80-yard run this season. Satterfield scored on an 80-yarder in the Pioneers’ first play from scrimmage in Watauga’s 50-21 win over T.C. Roberson on Aug. 23.

Satterfield finished with 67 yards on 12 carries against Ashe, and Jaiden Bond added 84 yards on eight carries. Receiver Grant Oliver carried the ball one time for a 50-yard gain.

“We’re better at running the football than passing the football, so we wanted to run the ball more,” Watauga coach Ryan Habich said. “We didn’t want these guys to be in the game. We wanted to take the wind out of their sails and run the ball and bring the toughness that we want.”

“I say it every year, but Ryan Habich is the best coach around,” Hampton said. “He does a great job with his guys and he’s got three great backs back there. Their offensive line, every year, comes off the ball and they’re very well-coached. They never beat themselves and you’ve got to play disciplined football.”

Things do not get any easier for Ashe County, which hosts Hibriten on Sept. 6. Hibriten beat Hickory 42-12 on Aug. 30 and is 1-1 this season.

Watauga 56, Ashe 7

Watauga 14 14 14 14 — 56

Ashe County 0 7 0 0 — 7

Scoring summary

First quarter

W—Satterfield 1 run (Everett kick)

W—Satterfield 1 run (Everett kick)

Second quarter

W—Castle 1 run (Everett kick)

W—Castle 1 run (Everett kick)

A—Peterson 3 run (Peterson kick)

Third quarter

W—Satterfield 5 run (Everett kick)

W—Castle 3 run (Everett kick)

Fourth quarter

W—Best 5 run (Everett kick)

W—Best 80 run (Everett kick)

Watauga Ashe County

First downs 27 10

By rushing 24 3

By passing 1 6

By penalty 2 1

Rushes-yards 47-480 13-33

Avg. per rush 10.2 2.5

Passing yards 16 135

Passes 1-3-0 13-26-1

Avg. per att. 16.0 10.4

Total plays-yards 50-496 39-168

Avg. per play 9.9 4.3

Penalties-yards 6-60 3-35

Punts-avg. 0-0 3-36.0

Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0

Time of poss. 24:54 23:06


Rushing: Watauga—Castle 21-168, Best 5-111, Bond 8-84, Satterfield 12-67, Oliver 1-50; Ashe—Peterson 10-55, Cox 3-(-22).

Passing: Watauga—Castle 1-3-0 16; Ashe—Cox 13-26-1 135.

Receiving: Watauga—Bond 1-16; Ashe— Burgess 3-46, Poe 3-37, Peterson 3-20, Ballard 1-14, Crouse 1-12, Witherspoon 1-3, Miller 1-3.

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