Alexander Central and Watauga played each other on the gridiron for the 52nd time Friday night in Taylorsville. The game produced an instant classic.
The Cougars rallied to win a game they led nearly the entire night 38 to 33. Gunnar Anderson threw a strike to Kendall Flowers from 46 yards with 1:10 remaining to send the packed house into a frenzy.
Both teams entered the Northwestern Conference game with records of 5-0 and both were 1-0 in league play. The Cougars took the opening kick and marched 62 yards in 12 plays capped with Gunnar Anderson’s four yard pass to tight end Curtis Evans. The PAT failed and the Blue and Gold were on top 6-0 at the 6:18 mark of the opening period. Watauga would answer.
The Pioneers went 55 yards in 9 plays when quarterback Anderson Castle hit Bryce Satterfield with a 20 yard toss knotting the game with 1:46 left in the opening period. It was that kind of night, back and forth with defensive stops at a premium. The Cougar defense got a stop sandwiched between a pair of scoring drives to take a two touchdown lead when Bryson Godfrey electrified the crowd with a 38 yard run with 4:36 left in the half. The Cougars were up 20-6. There would be 3 more touchdowns scored before halftime, two by Watauga and Alexander Central held a 26 -19 lead at the break.
Watauga took the second half kick but the Cougar defense produced a stop forcing the game’s first punt. AC went 62 yards in 10 plays capped by Anderson’s three yard run, again the PAT failed but Alexander Central had a 32-19 lead entering the final quarter.
Watauga would get the momentum and the lead with a pair of scoring drives and after Satterfield’s 4 yard run the visitors from Boone were up 33-32 with 2:41 remaining. At that point, it looked like the men from the mountain would take home a big come from behind victory.
Alexander Central took the kick and started a drive with no time outs. The home team covered 65 yards in just 4 plays capped by a Gunnar Anderson to Kendall Flowers 46 yard scoring strike. The Cougars had rallied and led 38-33 with the scoreboard clock showing 1:10 remaining.
Watauga drove inside the Cougar 40 yard line but with no time outs and a 4th down and long, a desperation pass attempt by Castle was incomplete. When that pass hit the turf, the home fans could be heard all across the Northwestern Conference.
Alexander Central out gained Watauga 428-271 led by Devon Weiss on the ground with 128 yards and a score. Anderson had a nearly flawless night, the senior Cougar quarterback went 11-13 passing for 171 yards. He also ran for 70 yards and a score. On defense ACHS was led by Lyndon Strickland who was a major factor in the game all night. Strickland, a junior was a thorn in the side of the Pioneers with 10 tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss and a couple blocked pass attempts. For Strickland, it was his best night ever as a Cougar.
For Watauga, it’s all about what could have been, for the Cougars it’s about what comes next. Next Friday, it’s a “Showdown in Motown” with Alexander Central at 6-0 and 2-0 in NWC heading to Morganton to battle Freedom with the conference lead hanging in the balance. The Patriots held off a suddenly relevant Hickory team Friday night 35 -30. Let the hype begin !