Pioneers surprise Spartans, 46-12, in league opener

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By David Rogers. September 21, 2018. HUDSON, NC — “Pick Six” interceptions by junior defensive back Grant Oliver and senior DB Zach West on consecutive South Caldwell possessions late in the first quarter gave visiting Watauga momentum. From then on, the Pioneers rolled to a 26-0 halftime advantage en route to a convincing, 46-12 win to open 2018 Northwestern Conference play.

About the only thing that the host Spartans “won” was time of possession.  South Caldwell controlled the ball 29:36 vs. Watauga’s 16:57, but the Pioneers defensive turnovers and quick-strike offense shifted the balance of power to the visitors’ advantage.

Pioneer senior quarterback Jackson Greene figured in two second quarter TDs, first a 9-yard dash early in the period, then a 21-yard pass-catch-and-run to senior receiver, Eli Suggs.

South Caldwell finally got on the board late in the third quarter with quarterback Jason Martin’s 16-yard scoring aerial to senior running back Spencer Piercy, who also accounted for the Spartans’ second score with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game, a one-yard plunge across the goal line.

If South Caldwell had a bright spot, it was blocking two of the Pioneers’ four first-half PAT attempts, but otherwise the game was all about Watauga’s offense and defense.

The Pioneers ran by committee for 319 yards, a 10.3-yard average, with Greene accounting for 131 of those as the game’s leading rusher, on just nine carries (14.6 yards per carry average). Junior running back Bryce Satterfield pounded out 92 yards on the ground, on 15 carries. Jaiden Bond toted the ball four times for 55 yards and Zach West ran three times for 41 yards. Each of the Pioneer runners tallied a TD on the ground.

Greene passed only four times during the game, but he was a perfect 4-for-4, picking up 87 yards and a TD through the air. West was on the receiving end of two of Greene’s passes for a total of 46 yards, but it was Suggs who caught the 21-yard TD-pass that completed Watauga’s first half scoring.

Watauga converted on 75% of its third down opportunities, (3-of-4), while South Caldwell was only 4-of-12 (33%).

With the loss, South Caldwell falls to 1-4 on the season, 0-1 in Northwestern Conference play, facing cross-county opponent West Caldwell next week.

Still undefeated at 5-0, Watauga hosts a strong Alexander Central, also undefeated and 5-0 on the young season. The Cougars defeated West Caldwell Friday night, 69-0.  The only common opponent for AC and WHS so far this season has been Wilkes Central. Alexander Central beat WCHS 50-7 on August 24th, while the Pioneers defeated the Eagles 43-14 on September 7th.

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