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When art recognizes football

By David Rogers. January 13, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — There are no hieroglyphics on the walls of Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery, but after 40 years of relative hibernation when it comes to being a fan of local high school football, owner Tim Miller emerged from his “cave” in a big way this month. And it was all made possible by a chance meeting with a college football coach’s wife — who also happens to be the mother of a star high school running back.

“Thanks to the coverage of Blowing Rock News,” explained Miller, “as well as coverage in other area media outlets, Watauga High School’s remarkable football success in recent years has not gone unnoticed. I ran into Beth Satterfield around town recently.  During our conversation, I wondered aloud if there was something we could do to not just show our appreciation for the team’s performance on and off the field, but to help them celebrate a terrific, and some would say historic season.  It was a performance that led to a 13-1 overall record, an undefeated conference championship, and a quarterfinal loss in the state playoffs to the eventual state champion.”

It had been over 40 years since I attended a Watauga High School football game. I was not disappointed.

Satterfield, of course, is the wife of former Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield who recently took the job as head coach at the University of Louisville. They met when both attended App State in the 90s, he the walk-on athlete who became the star starting QB in football, she the record-setting sprinter/hurdler on the track team.

It was a pairing bound to produce athletic offspring. Beth is also the mother of Bryce Satterfield, who for the last two years has been the focal point of Watauga High School’s powerful rushing offense. Plus, she has another son (Isaac) on the football team. In 2018, he was a varsity linebacker as a sophomore.  The Satterfields also have a daughter, Alli, who competed as a freshman outside hitter on the Pioneers’ junior varsity volleyball team.

“Beth put me in touch with Jeff and Emily Greene of the Watauga High School Touchdown Club and the Booster Club,” Miller shared, “and we figured out a way for us to use our expertise in framing and mounting artwork that would help their organizations recognize the players, coaches, and the special accomplishments of their 2018 season.”

The Watauga supporters provided Blowing Rock Frameworks with a picture of each of the 35 players on the Watauga varsity roster, as well as special images captured by Emily Greene after the Pioneers defeated Hickory for Ryan Habich’s 100th win as a North Carolina high school head coach, the last six years at Watauga and previously at Fuquay-Varina.

“If someone were to come off the street and arrange for this project,” Blowing Rock Frameworks gallery manager Alex Cirulis calculated for Blowing Rock News, “the retail value of this gift would be between $3,000 and $4,000. That includes the mounting, the framing and glass cover, and the calligraphy for each piece.  Tim and I completed the project over several days.”

This gift is just to say ‘thank you’ for the great season and your great sportsmanship as ‘high character kids.’

Miller graduated from Watauga High School “many moons ago” and his son, Olyn, played varsity baseball for the Pioneers (Class of 2016). He told Blowing Rock News that this is the perfect time for giving back.

“Our busy season is between April and October,” he said. “We have numerous art exhibitions during the spring, summer, and fall, and we do a lot of buying and selling on behalf of our customers, as well as do a lot of art restoration work. Right now is our down time and I can’t think of a better, more appropriate way to support our community’s young people and help recognize their positive accomplishments.

“It had been over 40 years since I attended a Watauga High School football game,” Miller admitted. “This was an incredible team with an incredible coach. The entire High Country community got behind them 100%.

“I kept reading and hearing about this team,” Miller added, “and decided to go to a couple of games to see for myself. I was not disappointed, that is for sure. Not only are they outstanding performers on the field, but from what I have seen and of the players I have met, they perfectly fit Coach Habich’s description of ‘high character kids.’ Their work on the field and in the classroom is inspiring to those of us who have gone before. They had one of the best seasons any football team could ever have. Some might even say that this is the best Watauga team in the history of the school, but that is not to take anything away from other great teams in other eras. Our gift simply says ‘thank you’ to the players and coaches for a great season, as well as their great sportsmanship. We are very proud of you.”

The mounted and framed player, coach, and team images produced by Miller and Cirulis were presented as gifts Sunday night at the team’s awards dinner.

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