BOONE -- The 10th-seeded A.L. Brown football team’s season ended in a 55-27 loss at the hands of the No. 2-seeded Watauga Pioneers in the second round of the Class 3AA state playoffs Friday night.
With the 55-28 win, Watauga advances to play No. 6-seeded Mount Tabor in the third round.
“Well, we’ve got a great senior class and a great group,” A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome said. “A large group is graduating. Our underclassmen have got big shoes to fill. I think what you take away is that we played a lot of underclassmen. We played six or seven sophomores on varsity all year. We played about eight sophomores tonight for (nearly) the whole game.”
After a come-from-behind 56-50 victory over No. 7-seeded T.C. Roberson in the first round, A.L. Brown had no answer for Watauga’s high-powered offense in Round 2. The Pioneers haven’t scored fewer than 35 points in a game all season and have scored more than 50 points nine times this year.
The Wonders won the coin toss and deferred to take possession to open the second half.
Watauga drove up the field on its first drive and scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Anderson Castle to take a 7-0 lead after the extra point from Carter Everett.
“They’ve got a team full of really good players, and (Castle) is undoubtedly one of the better players that we’ve seen all season,” Newsome said.
The Pioneers forced a three-and-out on A.L. Brown’s first possession and took a 14-0 lead on a 3-yard score from Castle with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
Watauga led, 20-0, with 5:44 to go in the second quarter when Wonders linebacker Dezmond Adams got to Castle in the backfield and forced a fumble. Defensive tackle Terry Williams
scooped the loose ball up and took it 52 yards to the house to give A.L. Brown its first points of the evening. The extra point from Ty Woods made it 20-7 in favor of the Pioneers.
“Dez Adams is an unbelievable player, and he made a play there, caused the fumble and then Terry picked it up and returned it,” Newsome said. “I thought that might be a spark that might give us an opportunity to make something happen, but (we) just couldn’t put it all together.”
The Pioneers led, 27-7, at halftime and started to put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Watauga outscored A. L. Brown, 21-7, in the third quarter to take a 48-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
While disappointed with Friday’s loss, Newsome said the A.L. Brown program could have a bright future.
“We have an undefeated JV team that’s coming up, so I think that’s what you take away from it,” Newsome said. “You definitely have something to work for, and you know what you (have to) strive for. So we just (have to) go get better.”
A.L. Brown 8-4; Watauga (12-1)
-- Quarterback Cam Kromah completed 12 of 26 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
--Wide receiver Isaiah Black caught two passes for 65 yards and a touchdown
-- Running back Jaiden Bond picked up 259 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
-- Quarterback Anderson Castle rushed 28 times for 252 yards and five touchdowns.
-- Watauga outgained A. L. Brown, 659-283, for the game while only attempting four passes. The dynamic rushing attack proved why the Pioneers have been able to have so much success this season, as the Wonder couldn’t seem to find an answer.
-- The Wonders’ defense forced the only two turnovers of the game on Adams’ forced fumble and Khalil Blanton’s interception in the end zone at the end of the first half. Although A. L. Brown took care of the ball, the Watauga defense held the offense in check for most of the
contest. A week after rushing for 322 yards and four touchdowns, star running back Jakhiry had just 36 yards on 10 carries.
-- As Newsome said, A. L. Brown’s JV team went undefeated in 2019, and the varsity team carried several underclassmen. The Wonders will have a talented and experienced group returning next year.
A.L. Brown 0 7 7 13 -- 27
Watauga 14 13 21 7 -- 55
W - Anderson Castle 4 run (Carter Everett kick)
W – Castle 3 run (Everett kick)
W- Jake Watson 1 run (kick failed)
ALB - Terry Williams 52 fumble recovery (Ty Woods kick)
W - Jaiden Bond 58 yard run (Everett kick)
W- Castle 4 run (Everett kick)
ALB – Isaiah Black 55 pass from Cam Kromah (Woods kick)
W- Castle 56 run (Everett kick)
W - Castle 3 run (Everett kick)
ALB – Austin Grunden 11 pass from Kromah (Woods kick)
W - Bond 13 run (Everett kick)
ALB – Jose Vargas 17 pass from Kromah (no kick)