A.C. Reynolds cruises past Pioneers
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
ASHEVILLE — Watauga’s defense had trouble keeping up with A.C. Reynolds’ Jones Friday night.
Jave Jones, the Rockets’ running back, gained 115 yards and scored touchdown runs of 22, 3, 22 and 20 yards to lead Reynolds to a convincing 51-20 victory at Dalton Stadium. The loss spoiled Watauga coach Tom Wright’s debut. Reynolds rolled up 445 yards in total offense, and took advantage of key Watauga mistakes to pull away to the win.
Jones scored two third-quarter touchdowns to turn a 23-8 halftime lead into a 37-8 advantage that the Pioneers could not overcome.
“We played the first quarter on the wrong end of the field,” Wright said. “But I’m proud of our players. I thought we competed all night long. I never felt like we dropped our heads. I felt like we competed all night long.”
Watauga’s defense managed to keep the game somewhat close in the first half. The Rockets converted a Watauga fumbled into a Jones 22-yard touchdown, and a blocked punt into Jones’ 2-yard score to take a 14-0 lead.
Watauga struck back with a 5-yard scoring pass from Tripp Taylor to DeWayne Mackey, which capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive. Reynolds quarterback Levi Ledford scored on an 11-yard run with 4:22 left in the first half. It gave the Rockets their halftime lead.
“That’s who we want to be,” Reynolds coach Shane Laws said. “We want to create turnovers and create sudden change and put teams in difficult situations and we did that tonight.”
Taylor, making his first varsity start after being the backup last year, tossed three touchdown passes against the Rockets. He found Mackey on a post route for a 37-yard TD in the third quarter, and Cameron Baker for a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Baker outdueled two Reynolds defenders to catch the ball in the corner of the end zone.
Taylor completed 13-of-18 passes for 123 yards and an interception the Rockets converted into a touchdown. He was also sacked twice, but a two-back formation used in the second half helped give Taylor more time to throw.
Baker caught seven passes for 71 yards. Mackey caught three passes for 52 yards.
“Cam can out-jump anybody in the state, I’d say,” Taylor said. “He’s got some hops. I had every bit of trust that it would be a touchdown on that play.”
Ledford completed 23-of-32 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times, and backup Tevin Stafford was sacked once.
Watauga’s running game, held to minus three yards last year when Reynolds beat the Pioneers 21-14 in Boone, gained 89 yards Friday. Collin Augustine gained 92 yards on 14 carries, including 34 of them on one run.
“There were a lot of things we need to improve on, but there were a lot of good things that happened for us,” Wright said.
Watauga hosts border rival Ashe County Friday at Jack Groce Stadium. A.C. Reynolds is idle.
A.C. Reynolds 51, Watauga 20
Watauga 0 8 6 6 — 20
A.C. Reynolds 8 15 21 7 — 51
ACR—Jones 22 run (Ledford run)
ACR—Jones 3 run (Ledford rush)
WHS—Mackey 5 pass from Taylor (Baker pass from Augustine)
ACR—Ledford 11 run (Blakey kick)
ACR—Jones 22 run (Blakey kick)
ACR—Jones 20 run (Blakey kick)
WHS—Mackey 37 pass from Taylor (Parsons kick)
ACR—Ledford 7 run (Blakey kick)
WHS—Baker 27 pass from Taylor (Rush failed)
ACR—Lytle 12 run (Blakey kick)
Watauga A.C. Reynolds
First downs 12 24
By rushing 6 13
By passing 5 11
By penalty 1 0
Rushes-yards 31-89 34-176
Avg. rush 2.9 5.2
Yds. gained 126 221
Yds. lost 37 45
Total plays-yards 56-264 69-445
Avg. gain 4.7 6.4
Punts-avg. 5-21.2 3-31.0
Net per punt 16.8 29.3
Inside 20 0 1
Penalties-yards 7-49 9-75
Fumbles-lost 4-1 2-0
Time of poss. 25:39 22:14
Rushing: Augustine 14-92, Weybrecht 2-4, Funston 2-3, Poulos 3-2, Foxx 1-2, Williams 2 (-3), Taylor 7 (-11).
Passing: Taylor 13-18-1 132, Harrill 2-7-0 43.
Receiving: Baker 7-71, Mackey 3-52, Williams, Augustine 2-1, Poulos 1-37.
A.C. Reynolds individuals:
Rushing: Jones 16-115, Lytle 7-67, Bryant 3-7, Ledford 6-(-4), Team 1-(-4), Stafford 1-(-5).
Passing: Ledford 23-32-0 252, Stafford 1-3 17.
Receiving: Rhinehardt 7-50, Waters 5-41, Cagle 5-38, Jones 3-62, Lytle 3-61, Bryant 1-17.