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Football Roundup: Watauga, Ashe County Clinch Share of Conference Title, Avery County Falls to Mitchell

By Nathan Ham

Two area teams clinched at least a share of their respective conference championships. Both Watauga and Ashe County are one game away from finishing unbeaten in their conferences after big wins on Friday night.

The Pioneers had a tough challenge against Freedom on Friday as both teams entered the contest unbeaten in the Northwestern 3A/4A. Watauga jumped out to a quick 28-8 lead by the half and went on to take down the Patriots at home, 35-16.

Watauga ran for 357 yards and four touchdowns against a Freedom defense that had given up over 30 points in just one other game this season.

Quarterback Anderson Castle carried the ball 14 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 34 passing yards and a touchdown. Bryce Satterfield ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Jaiden Bond had six carries for 66 yards and Zach West had two carries for 14 yards.

Eli Suggs got into the end zone with a 28-yard touchdown reception and led the team defensively with 14 tackles. Jackson Greene and Ben Critcher each had eight tackles, West finished with seven tackles, Jake Watson had seven tackles, Castle had five tackles and Braeden Myers had five tackles. Greene and West also had interceptions for the Pioneer defense.

Watauga is now 10-0 overall and 6-0 in conference play. The Pioneers will try to cap off a perfect regular season at West Caldwell this Friday. The Warriors are winless on the season with a record of 0-10.

Ashe County hit the road to West Wilkes and easily handled the Blackhawks, 55-6 to remain unbeaten in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference.

Quarterback Luke Hudler completed 13-of-16 passes for 404 yards and six touchdowns. Backup quarterback Dawson Cox completed 3-of-4 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Tailback Timothy Peterson ran for 37 yards and a touchdown and reeled in an 11-yard touchdown reception. Dylan Hutchens ran for 25 yards and had a 37-yard catch.

Sophomore wide receiver Austin Poe caught five passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Branson Shepherd had three catches for 113 yards and a touchdown and Corbin Coldiron had two catches for 71 yards and a score. Johnathan Reyna had one catch but he made it count in a big way for a 49-yard touchdown and Lucas Worley added one grab for three yards.

Defensively, linebacker Zach Bare led the Huskies with 12 tackles. Alex Lacroix had eight tackles and an interception, Drake Elliott finished with eight tackles, Gabe Bare had eight tackles, Ryan Blevins had six tackles and Logan Richardson had six tackles.

Ashe is 8-2 overall and 6-0 in the MVAC. The Huskies will face Starmount at home on Friday with an outright conference title on the line. If Starmount wins, the two teams will share the conference championship.

Avery County faced off against Mitchell County on Friday. The Mountaineers were too much for the Viking defense as they took control of the game early and never looked back. Mitchell ended up with a 63-14 victory.

Mitchell quarterback Noah Pittman completed 5-of-10 passes for 107 yards and four touchdowns while also running for a team-high 142 yards. Landon Miller had 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground, Ethan LaPlante had 60 rushing yards and a touchdown and Hunter Johnson had a six-yard touchdown run.

Avery County quarterback Troy Hoilman completed 14-of-31 passes for 88 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions.

Sam McCollum had 19 carries for 131 yards to lead the Viking ground attack. Lucas Andrews added 54 yards on 13 carries.

Eli Hayes had three catches for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Tyree Jackson had four catches for 17 yards, Andrews had two catches for 21 yards, Jesse Jones had two catches for 19 yards and Jonas Bowman had one catch for 11 yards.

Avery is 2-8 overall and 1-3 in the Western Highlands 1A/2A conference. The Vikings will face Mountain Heritage in Burnsville this Friday.