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Originally published: 2013-10-29 17:57:32
Last modified: 2013-10-29 17:58:41

A closer look: Final drive gives WHS win

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

MORGANTON -- Watauga head coach Ryan Habich made sure that when Watauga needed a game-winning drive, the Pioneers turned to Aaron Dobbins.
The sophomore quarterback played a heavy role in the Pioneers' final drive, an 86-yard, 12-play drive that ended with a 35-yard Dobbins touchdown pass to Cameron Baker. It gave the Pioneers a 24-20 lead with 3:51 left in the game, and ended up being the final points scored by either team.
The Pioneers had already picked up three first downs without reaching a third down until they faced a fourth down and seven at the Patton 48-yard line. Dobbins found tight end Hunter Isaacs for a screen pass, and Isaacs managed to gain exactly the seven yards needed to convert the third down.
It was a play that the Pioneers put in during the previous week of practice. Watauga has often thrown tunnel screens to Baker or more traditional screen passes to T.J. Poulos.
Isaacs was open, had three blockers in front of him, and managed to get the first down.
"We just ran a little screen. We hadn't shown that yet," Dobbins said. "We usually throw the screens to T.J., so Hunter got right in there, so you could see from the field that he got it. It was definitely a big relief there."
"I could have probably gotten more, but I ran into my own players," Isaacs said. "But it's a good play. They were expecting it and we hadn't run it before, so it was good."
Before then, Dobbins had passes for 24 yards and ran for another 14 just to reach the Patton 48-yard line. Three plays after the screen pass to Isaacs, the Pioneers were in the end zone after the touchdown pass to Baker converted a third-and-three.
Isaacs said the offense had seen tough tasks before, but managed to find a way to get to the end zone. One week earlier, the Pioneers trailed Hibriten 45-31, but scored two touchdowns to trail 45-44.
However, on a two-point conversion following the second touchdown, Dobbins cross-field pass to Isaacs fell short and Hibriten escaped Jack Groce Stadium with a one-point victory.
A two-point conversion was not necessary against Patton. Stephen Shirley made his third extra point of the game to put the Pioneers up 24-20. That forced Patton to have to drive the length of the field to win, instead of being able to kick a field goal and tie had Shirley missed the extra point.
"Our offense has worked through tough times," Isaacs said. "That last drive, with Cam catching the touchdown there, it's just amazing. I was a little worried to be honest, but we pulled it off."
Watauga, 7-2 overall, 3-2 in the NWC, plays two more games in the regular season. The Pioneers host Hickory on Friday, and then plays at South Caldwell on Nov. 8.
Hickory is tied with Watauga and Patton for third place in the Northwestern Conference with a 3-2 league record. Hickory is 5-4 overall with a win over Patton.