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HomeHigh SchoolNorthwest Guilford rallies past Watauga, 33-27, ending the Pioneers' remarkable season

Northwest Guilford rallies past Watauga, 33-27, ending the Pioneers’ remarkable season

By David Rogers. BOONE, N.C. — Football is often a game of inches and that proved the case on Nov. 12 when Northwest Guilford rallied from 15 points down in the second half to advance past Watauga in the state playoffs, 33-27, at Jack Groce Stadium.

Watauga led 21-6 at  intermission but the Vikings scored on their first possession after halftime to shrink the deficit to a manageable, 21-12.  On the ensuing kickoff, Northwest was able to down the ball at the Pioneers’ 2-yardline, giving Watauga a long field in which to answer.

No problem, said the Pioneers. Sophomore QB Maddox Greene ambled 94 yards on a keeper, pushed out of bounds at the Northwest 2-yardline following a footrace against the Vikings’ secondary. After running back Will Curtis ran up the middle, gaining one of the remaining yards to the goal line, Greene finished things with a keeper into the end zone, expanding the Pioneers’ lead to 15 points again, 27-12.

Watauga wide receiver Jackson Pryor (7) hauls in a Maddox Greene pass early in the 2nd quarter against Northwest Guilford to put the Pioneers ahead. Photo by David Rogers

But that was only the beginning of what would become the game’s reversal of fortune. A defensive stand by the Pioneers looked promising enough, the Vikings hurting themselves, too, with costly penalties. Forced to punt, NWG gave Watauga good field position, at their own 42.

Greene & Co. could do very little with the short field. After gaining one first down, Greene attempted to pass the ball to WR Jackson Pryor behind the line of scrimmage, but the exchange ended up as a fumble — recovered and returned for a TD by the Vikings’ Luke Rochon. And Northwest Guilford was soon rockin’ on, indeed, with the deficit down to just seven points, 27-20, following a successful 2-point conversion run by replacement QB, Bristol Carter.

The momentum in the game had clearly shifted. Watauga suffered a 3-and-out on their next possession, forced to punt as the third quarter ended.

The Watauga student section was at Jack Groce Stadium in good numbers despite the wintry conditions closing in for the Pioneers’ Round 2 of the state playoffs game vs. Northwest Guilford. Photo by David Rogers

Given the blustery conditions and their lack of success passing the ball earlier in the game, Northwest Guilford’s offense returned to its grinding ground game behind a large and powerful offensive line, with seniors Carter and running back Mike Godette carrying the ball. Taking almost five minutes off the clock with the drive, Godette finished off the last 13 yards and, suddenly, a game that had seemed out of the Vikings reach just moments earlier was tied at 27-27.

Did we mention that football is a game of inches? After picking up gridiron real estate in chunks on the next possession, Watauga looked to be heading for the end zone and the lead once again. They got the ball as far as the Viking 35, needing to get past the 34 on 4th down to extend the drive and potentially earn the win with a TD.

But, after the officials called time out for a measurement, Greene’s 4th down effort on a QB keeper was deemed just inches short of what was needed and the ball was turned over to Northwest Guilford. With 2:35 remaining on the game clock, overtime seemed a distinct possibility.

The Vikings’ Carter had other ideas. Although a holding penalty on the first play of the next NWG possession reset what they needed to do, Carter ripped off runs of 8, 4, and 7 yards, leaving the Vikings with their own 4th-and-1 situation, and only 45 seconds remaining on the game clock.

Carter got the one yard, and more, running through and beyond the Pioneer defense for 57 yards and a TD. The PAT kick was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 33-27. If only the Pioneers had a 36-seconds’ proverbial arrow in their offensive quiver they could win the game with a TD and PAT.

They almost found it, too. A Greene pass to Pryor gained 41 yards, getting the ball to the Northwest Guilford 31-yardline. But that was it. Two more incomplete passes and time had expired — and with the final buzzer, Watauga’s remarkable 2022 season also came to an end.


  • 1st Quarter – NW Guilford’s Ryan Debow scored a TD on a 1-yard run. 2-point conversion attempt failed. SCORE: NWG 6, WAT 0
  • 2nd Quarter – WAT’s Maddox Greene pass to Jackson Pryor for 33 yards and a TD. Grant Kight conversion kick good. SCORE: NWG 6, WAT 7
  • 2nd Quarter – WAT’s Will Curtis, 5-yard run for TD. Kight PAT kick is good. SCORE: NWG 6, WAT 14
  • 2nd Quarter – WAT’s Will Curtis, 4-yard run for TD. Kight PAT kick is good. SCORE: NWG 6, WAT 21
  • 3rd Quarter – NWG’s Ryan Debow, 3-yard run for TD. 2-point conversion attempt fails. SCORE: NWG 12, WAT 21
  • 3rd Quarter – WAT’s Maddox Greene, 1-yard run for TD. PAT kick is unsuccessful. SCORE: NWG 12, WAT 27
  • 3rd Quarter – Fumble recovery and return by NWG’s Luke Rochon for TD, 2-point conversion run by Bristol Carter is good. SCORE: NWG 20, WAT 27
  • 4th Quarter – NWG’s Mike Godette, 13 yard run for TD. PAT kick by Nate Wallace is good. SCORE: NWG 27, WAT 27
  • 4th Quarter – NWG’s Bristol Carter, 57-yard run for TD. PAT kick is no good. SCORE: NWG 33, WAT 27


  • Total Offense: NWG 354, WAT 421
  • Passing Yards: NWG 72, WAT 90
  • Rushing Yards: NWG 282, WAT 331
  • Penalties: NWG 9-78, WAT 2-16
  • Turnovers: NWG 2 INTs, WAT 1 fumble
  • Time of Possession – NWG 21:33, WAT 26:17
  • 3rd Down Conversions: NWG 4/8 (50%), WAT 6/11 (54.5%)
  • 4th Down Conversions: NWG 1/2 (50%), WAT 0-2 (0.0%)



  • WAT Maddox Greene 5-11-90, 1 TD
  • NWG Tanner Ballou 4-4-65
  • NWG Bristol Carter 2-9-7, 2 INTs


  • WAT Maddox Greene 19 carries, 170 yards, 1 TD
  • NWG Bristol Carter 16 carries, 159 yards, 1 TD
  • NWG Mike Godette 22 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD
  • WAT Will Curtis 19 carries, 92 yards, 2 TDs
  • WAT Carlton Horine 7 carries, 50 yards
  • NWG Ryan Debow 5 carries, 21 yards, 2 TDs
  • WAT Cole Horine 2 carries, 14 yards


  • WAT Jackson Pryor 4-57, 1 TD
  • NWG Bristol Carter 5-54
  • WAT Carlton Horine 1-33





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