Pioneers celebrate Senior Night Friday
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
The Pioneers have 25 seniors on their roster that were honored before the game. Seniors who are members of the band, the cheerleaders and the Pacers were honored at halftime.
Watauga’s coaching staff, Watauga’s dance troupe The Pacers and several members of the 2,218 crowd at Jack Groce Stadium also wore pink shirts to show awareness of fighting breast cancer.
Several players also wore pink wristbands and shoelaces to show awareness.
One senior in particular, quarterback Tripp Taylor, was cleared to start the game for the Pioneers.
Taylor, who broke his jaw against Alexander Central, played just one play before coming out of the game. Freshman quarterback Aaron Dobbins took over.
Taylor was the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. He led the Pioneers to a 4-3 record as a starter before breaking his jaw while rolling out on a pass play against Alexander Central on Oct. 5.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Senior fullback Collin Augustine missed six weeks of the season because of a broken collarbone. He started against St. Stephens and broke a 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that was called back because of a penalty.
The Watauga coaching staff asked if Augustine wanted to come out. The answer? No chance.
“They asked me if I wanted to come out and I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m coming out after that. I’m going to get a second try.’ Eventually we went down the field and scored again.”
“If I’m on the field, I want to play,” Augustine added.
Augustine played fullback in his return to the field last week against Hibriten, but did not play defense. He played outside linebacker against St. Stephens and almost intercepted a pass.
He deflected a Marvin Sutton pass and nearly caught it at the Indians’ 10-yard line.
Cameron Baker’s 215 yards set a new record at the new Jack Groce Stadium, but it was unknown if it was a team record that went back to the opening of Watauga in 1965.
Baker, who has recovered from a sprained thumb injury, caught six passes to gain those 215 yards. He also scored three touchdowns, including an 89-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
“That’s the best game I’ve had all season,” Baker said. “I didn’t even know I had an 89-yard catch.”
Dobbins completed 11-of-13 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
That works out to Dobbins averaging 24.1 yards per completion and 20.4 yards per pass attempt.
Dobbins, a freshman who was starting his second game of the season, has thrown five touchdown passes and no interceptions in his two starts.
“He’s making very good decisions,” Pioneers coach Tom Wright said.
“I’m getting a lot more comfortable out there,” Dobbins said. “I feel a lot better out there. I’m enjoying it out there.”
Watauga had just five third-down conversion attempts despite scoring 43 points. The Pioneers converted two of their five third downs and both of their fourth downs.
St. Stephens converted 5-of-12 third downs and 2-of-4 fourth downs.
LOTS OF LAUNDRY
Both teams had problems with penalties. Watauga committed 11 penalties for 93 yards, including a holding penalty that wiped out a 74-yard Collin Augustine touchdown run in the first quarter.
St. Stephens committed nine penalties for 82 yards.
St. Stephens held a 30:48-17:12 in time of possession. …Watauga did not punt in the game. St Stephens punted three times for a 26.0 average.