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Ashe hosts West Wilkes for Homecoming

Nathan HamSports Writernham@jeffersonpost.com

September 20, 2012

Homecoming week is officially here for the Huskies, and the football team would love nothing more than to give the fans, parents, and returning alumni a victory this Friday night.


Ashe is hoping to bounce back from a 28-0 defeat at the hands of Starmount last week. In that game, Ashe struggled to move the ball at all, gaining just 147 yards of total offense while allowing 327 to the powerful Ram attack.


Jonathan Cox and Eli Gambill continue to carry the workload on the ground. Cox picked up 97 yards rushing on 13 carries while Gambill was silenced for most of the evening, gaining just 26 yards on 20 rushing attempts.


So far this year, Cox leads the way with 401 yards rushing followed by Gambill with 323 yards and five touchdowns.


Through the air, Gambill has completed 30 of 68 passes for 387 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.


Jacob Blevins leads all receivers with 12 catches and is second in yards with 104. Cox has had just six catches this year, but he has piled up the yardage, gaining 117 yards, an average of nearly 20 yards per reception. Matthew Hamilton has three catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Cullen Ashley has three catches for 43 yards and score while Grayson Gilley has reeled in two passes for 19 yards, but one of those a big touchdown against Elkin two weeks ago.


Defensively, Michael Elliott has had a stellar season through five games. He leads all players with 35 tackles and two forced fumbles. Elliott also has accounted for one fumble recovery and one interception.


On the defensive line, Dominic Maxwell and Carson Knight have put up solid numbers. Maxwell has 26 tackles, six of which were for losses, and a forced fumble. Knight has 29 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.


Cox and Hamilton are the team leaders in interceptions. Cox has picked off three passes this season while Hamilton has added two.


For West Wilkes, things have turned around a bit after a rough start to the year. The Blackhawks lost its first three games of the year, which included non-conference losses to South Stokes and Avery County. West then lost its conference opener to Wilkes Central, 26-9.


After that, it’s been two straight victories with wins over Forbush and East Wilkes.


The Blackhawks rely heavily on a strong rushing attack, as do most teams in the conference. Tyler Woods has been a strong force in the backfield for the last three years. So far this year, he has 457 yards on 67 carries with seven touchdowns.


Hayden Sutphin joins Woods in the backfield to form a two-man rushing attack. He leads the Blackhawks with 77 carries and 464 yards. Sutphin has found the endzone three times so far.


When they need to pass the ball, West Wilkes relies on quarterback Josh Phipps. He has completed 49 percent of his passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Will Shepherd is the team’s leading receiver, catching nine passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.


Last year, West Wilkes shut down the Ashe offense, beating the Huskies 31-0. Two years ago, Ashe had one of its bigger wins of the season, beating this West Wilkes team 31-21. The Blackhawks went on to finish fourth in the conference, one spot ahead of Ashe, and advanced to the second round of the 1AA state playoffs.


Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from ACHS. The 2012 Homecoming Queen will be announced at halftime with last year’s queen MacKenzie Domske returning to crown this year’s winner.


Other area games:


Alleghany at Forbush


Hibriten at Davie County


Hickory at Watauga


Maiden at West Caldwell


North Stokes at North Surry


North Wilkes at East Wilkes


Starmount at Elkin


Surry Central at Mount Airy


Thomas Jefferson Academy at Avery County


West Stokes at East Surry