NewsSportsWatauga High School Athletics

1978 Watauga High 3A Semi-Final & State Title games now online

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 4:21 pm

In 1978 the Watauga High School varsity football team reached a milestone that to date no other Pioneer team has been able to obtain.

The Pioneers won the 3-A Championship by defeating Burlington Williams on December 1, 1978, capping off a 13-0-1 season. Before that game, Watauga won a thriller over Brevard in the semi-final game on November 24, 1978.

Below are the videos of both games, with the radio calls dubbed in. Below are also the options to hear the radio calls only for each game.

A little background on my quest to find the radio broadcast:

Anyone who attended Watauga High School after that 1978 team all graduated has heard about the state title game. I graduated in 1992 and heard about it often and always wanted to see it or hear it. Having worked at WATA Radio numerous times over the past 25-plus years, I was aware that there were cassette tapes of the original broadcast but had no idea if they were still around. I knew that Mike Kelly, former Sports Director at WATA, had them at some point several years ago for a feature on the air. I reached out to Mike and he told me that he gave it to one of the alumni a week after it was featured but he could not remember to whom. So I did what anyone does when looking for something these days, I posted to Facebook about it.

It did not take long at all for folks to point me to Todd Harmon. I didn't know Todd personally but reached. out to him and to my amazement he had the original cassette tapes of the title game, cassette copy of the semi-final game AND videos of BOTH games. I was floored, as I never knew there was video available.

Upon letting me borrow all of the above, Harmon, a member of that '78 team, told me that he had hired a videographer to help merge the reel-to-reel film of the game to the radio broadcast. Harmon said it was a painstaking effort, as the film had to be stopped at every play and start again to match up to the radio call in time. Harmon said that neither he nor the videographer had ever done anything like that so it was quite the learning process. Harmon wanted to do it as a keepsake for members of the '78 team for their 20th Reunion in 1998.

I had told Todd, when I first reached out, that I would like to convert all of the materials to digital and put it online, both to preserve history and to give anyone who wanted to share in those moments the chance to do so. He so graciously agreed, and I can't thank him enough.

More on the radio broadcast:

The late Terry Coffey, who worked at WATA Radio from 1970 to 1993, is on the play-by-play call, Jane Nicholson, the then News Director, can be heard conducting interviews during pre-game, halftime, and post-game, along with providing color commentary.

Brevard vs Watauga – 3-A State Semifinals – November 24, 1978

Burlington Williams vs Watauga – State 3 A Championship – December 1, 1978

Brevard vs Watauga – 3-A State Semifinals – November 24, 1978

Burlington Williams vs Watauga – State 3 A Championship – December 1, 1978

Back to top button