Pioneers turn attention to season
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
This Friday, the Pioneers start playing for keeps. Up first is Alexander Central at Jack Groce Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m., on Aug. 23.
The Pioneers had one final scrimmage Thursday when they took on a solid West Forsyth team in a practice session that lasted about two hours. Unlike Watauga's scrimmage at Lincolnton, which included action against Maiden, the junior varsity also participated.
New coach Ryan Habich liked the idea of playing a team such as West Forsyth, which has a chance to get back in the thick of the Central Piedmont Conference race after finishing 5-6 in 2012.
Lincolnton and Maiden are also traditional 2-A powers, which was a big reason why Habich wanted to scrimmage them.
"We just wanted to see how our kids respond to adversity," Habich said. "The one good thing about our scrimmage schedule is we've played three really good teams. Lincolnton and Maiden are two powerhouse 2-A schools, and, of course West Forsyth is a upper echelon 4-AA school. Our kids got some pretty good competition and now it's all on film. Now we're going back this weekend at the coaches meeting and we're going to put guys in the right position and get ready to play a real game."
The goals playing against West Forsyth, which is coached by former Watauga boss Adrian Snow, were the same as they were in the scrimmage at Lincolnton. Habich wanted to see everybody play live, and to get them on film.
He also wanted to see how they would react when things didn't go so well.
"We were treating it like a preseason game," Habich said. "Both the varsity and the JV got a chance to play. We wanted to see if we could improve from the mistakes we made last week."
In the part of the scrimmage that simulated game situations with teams starting at the 35-yard line, Watauga scored on its third drive on a 3-yard run by Aaron Dobbins. He set up the touchdown with a 32-yard run followed two plays later with a 12-yard Dobbins completion to T.J. Poulos.
West Forsyth scored on its first two possessions of that part of the scrimmage, but had a three-and-out the third time it had the ball.
"Right now, we're not as physical as they are," Habich said. "Our kids are working and they're still learning, but we're not at the same caliber as they are. We've got to play more as a team."