Watauga plays at Hough in the third round of the state 4-A playoffs at 6:30 tonight looking for the chance to go as deep into the postseason as possible in the Woody McKay era.
The Pioneers avenged two tough losses in their first two games. They beat Mallard Creek, a team that beat them in the 2011 playoffs, 2-1 in the first round. Watauga followed with a 1-0 victory over A.C. Reynolds in the second round on Saturday after losing to the Rockets on Aug. 27.
McKay felt motivation will not be a problem for the Pioneers, even if there is no revenge to be had.
“I think we’re motivated already,” McKay said. “It’s not a problem.”
Watauga (17-3-3) got a game-winning goal from Alex Parsons in the 19th minute to beat A.C. Reynolds (16-5-2) Saturday. Watauga’s defense took it from there by keeping the Rockets scoreless the rest of the game.
“We kept trying to counter-attack,” McKay said. “We had a number of players in the midfield to condense it and keep control of the ball. We’d rather do that than just kick it forward and hope for the best.”
McKay said he does not know much about Hough, except they beat Mallard Creek 2-1. The teams do not have any other common opponents.
“They look like they score more and allow more than we do, which is typical of our opponents,” McKay said.
The Northwestern Conference season also helped Watauga get ready for the playoffs. Watauga is the only team to beat Hickory this season. Hickory breezed through its first two playoff games by beating South Point 9-0 and Patton 5-0.
Hickory lost to Watauga 3-1 and beat Watauga 3-2.
Watauga has not lost a game this season by more than one goal.
“We’re playing all No. 1 seeded teams, so they’re going to be teams like us,” McKay said. “Hickory has outscored its opponents 14-0 in the playoffs and I think they’re on their way to a showdown with Charlotte Catholic. Hickory played Roberson and won 3-0, so quite frankly these teams are not as good as Hickory, which is the benefit of playing in a tough conference.”
Should Watauga advance into the fourth round, it would play the winner of the Roberson-North Mecklenburg game. The date will be announced.