UPDATED: It's Official, Pioneers, SW Guilford in Opening Round... (2016-11-12 18:42:37)

BOONE - Well, it's official,m and yes, the Watauga High football team will play Southwest Guilford in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Playoffs Friday night at Jack Groce Stadium.


It's a rematch between two teams that went to triple overtime at "The Groce" last season. The Cowboys (7-4), the No. 6 seed in the 4A Midwest and members of the Piedmont-Triad 4A Conference, beat the Pioneers, 39-36. The Pioneers (8-3), the No. 1 seed among the 4A schools in the Northwestern 3A-4A Conference and the No. 2 seed overall in the NWC, is listed as a No. 3 seed in the 4A West. And WHS' No. 3 seed is also it's highest ranking in the state playoffs since 2007, when the Pioneers, led by future All-America Eric Breitenstein (Wofford College), were seeded No. 1 in the 4A West and made their second straight appearance in the state semifinals.  

"There won't be any surprises," WHS coach Ryan Habich. "I remember those guys from last year. They have a very good quarterback, and our offensive line has to block well. This game is going to be a great challenge for us, but playing at home is a huge advantage for us. It's like playing (Lenior) Hibriten every week. We have to clean things up, and the 4A West is loaded. You've got some 8th seeded teams that have won seven, eight games. The 4A West is no joke. We had a good bye week, and we got some guys rested up. It's going to be fun. But it's going to be tough, too. You're going to see a lot of outstanding teams in the playoffs every time you advance."

The winner of this game will get either Alexander Central, the No. 7 seed in the 4A West, or Greensboro-Dudley, the No. 2 seed in the West and a state semifinalist last year. But the Pioneers have been explosive this season. They're averaging 51 points and more than 400-yards rushing a game. The Pioneers cracked the 60-point barrier three times this season, which includes a school-record 78 points against Ashe County on August 26.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, come into Friday's game limping a bit. Following a 6-0 start, they lost four straight games before they finished the regular season with a 38-14 win against High Point Central. They were 1-4 in league play.

Coverage Friday night begins at 6:30 p.m. on WATA 1450 AM/96.5 FM, We will also have a report on our facebook pages at WATA 1450 AM and coming up shortly.

In 1AA, Avery (3-8) is listed as a No. 6 seed and will play East Montgomery (10-1), the No. 3 seed in the 1AA Midwest Friday night on the road. Ashe County (4-7), which battled the injury bug all season, will miss the state playoffs for the first time since 2002. But senior quarterback Colin Ellis currently leads the state of North Carolina in total offense and passing yards, according to


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New Bern @ Scotland County
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Wilmington-Hoggard @ Durham-Hillside
Roxboro-Person @ Greenville-Rose

Southeast Guilford @ Davie County
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Southwest Guilford @ WATAUGA
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Harding University High @ East Forsyth
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Indian Hill-Porter Ridge @ Winston-Salem-Mount Tabor
Parkland @ Charlotte Catholic

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East Mecklenburg @ Lake Norman
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Charlotte-Olympic @ Greensboro-Page
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Ardrey Kell @ Charlotte-Vance
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South Johnston @ Eastern Wayne

McMichael @ Hibriten
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West Henderson @ South Point
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China Grove-Carson @ Pisgah

Northern Guilford @ West Brunswick
Jacksonville @ Westover
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Union Pines @ Cleveland

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