Pioneers slam Foard 48-10
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
NEWTON – Watauga has opened its previous two games with touchdown drives.
It took the Pioneers longer to reach the end zone Friday against Fred T. Foard. Once Watauga found the end zone, the Pioneers returned there often.
Watauga had to wait for its second drive to score a touchdown in its 48-10 victory over the Tigers in the Pioneers' second Northwestern Conference game of the 2013 season. Watauga (6-0, 2-0 NWC) led 21-0 in the first half, but saw that lead shrink to 21-10 by halftime.
“The kids knew they had to take care of business,” Pioneers coach Ryan Habich said. “It was a long bus trip and I think we played well in the second half and found a way to win tonight.”
Watauga put the game away in the third quarter by scoring two touchdowns within 54 seconds of each other. It started when Watauga quarterback Aaron Dobbins scored on a 49-yard option run on Watauga's first drive of the third quarter, which gave the Pioneers a 28-10 lead.
Foard (0-6, 0-2), which moved the ball well in the second quarter, was smothered by the Watauga defense in the third. The Tigers were not only held to three three-and-out possessions, but were a victim of an interception by Jackson Carr on their possession following Dobbins' touchdown run.
The turnover, which gave Watauga a first down at the Tigers' 15-yard line, led to a T.J. Poulos 13-yard touchdown run. That gave the Pioneers an insurmountable 35-10 lead with 8:26 left in the third quarter.
“When we get up on teams like that, it's hard for them to come back, especially when they don't have an offense that can score really quick,” Habich said. “The one thing about them is that they played hard. Coach (Tom) Harper had his kids playing hard and I definitely respect their team and their coaching staff.”
It wasn't all perfect for Watauga's offense, but then the Pioneers didn't have to be perfect, either. Dobbins threw touchdown passes of 67, 18 and 17 yards in the first half, and another for 42 yards in the fourth quarter. But Dobbins also tossed his first interception of the season on the Pioneers' first possession and another in the second quarter.
Dobbins didn't let a little thing like a pair of interceptions derail him. He completed 7-of-14 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns Friday night, including three that went for 24 yards or more.
“We definitely didn't start off well,” Dobbins said. “Me personally, I made some bad decisions and tried to force it. At halftime, coach Habich told us to pick our intensity up. We came out there and we were kind of mad and wanted to make sure it came out right.”
Even after Dobbins threw his first pick, Watauga cornerback Travis Ford got the ball back for Dobbins by picking off an Zander Toy pass at the Pioneers' goal line.
Dobbins responded with a 67-yard strike to Cameron Baker for the Pioneers' first touchdown. Dobbins found Baker again, this time for 18 yards, on Watauga's next drive, which was set up when the Pioneers' Landry Morgan tackled Foard punter Ryan Campbell before he could kick the ball.
A Dobbins throw-back screen pass to Poulos went for 17 yards and a touchdown, which gave the Pioneers a 21-0 lead. He added another touchdown pass, this time for 42 yards, to Baker that gave the Pioneers a 41-10 lead.
Baker led the Pioneers in receiving with four catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
“We feel we can score when we have to,” Habich said. “We have guys who can throw the ball pretty well and we have guys who can catch the ball pretty well. I thought Aaron made some nice throws and Cam made some nice catches. I thought the offensive line did a nice job protecting.”
Fullback Zach Williams closed out Watauga's scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, giving the Pioneers a 48-10 lead with 6:50 left in the game.
Dobbins, with help from his 49-yard TD run, led the Pioneers in rushing with 53 yards on just two carries. Poulos added 50 yards on eight carries, while Williams gained 44 yards on 10 carries. Overall, the Pioneers gained 201 yards rushing and 431 yards in total offense.
Foard gained most of its yards and scored all of its 10 points in the second quarter. The Tigers capped an 80-yard, nine-play drive with a Toy 18-yard touchdown pass to Deante Powell. Foard marched another 80 yards in 10 plays before settling on a 27-yard field goal from Campbell on the final play of the first half.
“I think we got it in our heads that it would be an easy win and we kind of slowed it up on defense,” Poulos said. “But we got it.”
Watauga's defense held the Tigers to 32 total yards in the second half. They gained 21 of those yards on the final three plays of the game.
Overall, the Tigers finished with 348 yards in total offense. Toy completed 13-of-20 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Toy also led the Tigers in rushing with 68 yards on 16 carries. Khalil Green added 30 yards on 14 carries.
Watauga hosts powerful Freedom on Friday.