Ashe’s 28 unanswered points dooms Alleghany

Nathan Ham Sports Writer

September 30, 2013

Head Coach Brian Hampton hopes the Huskies don’t play another first quarter like they did Friday night in Alleghany.

“I just got through telling the guys to remember what they did on the way over here and remember how they prepared for tonight’s first quarter and never do it again,” said Coach Hampton.

Alleghany quickly jumped ahead 21-0 with two touchdown passes to Austin Sprinkle, and a fumble return for another score.

After some defensive adjustments and some good ‘ole smash mouth football, the Huskies got right back in the game in the second quarter. Senior tailback Johnathan Cox kept getting carries and kept making the Trojans pay. Cox scored two touchdowns to bring Ashe to within a 21-14 score at halftime.

The Huskies continued the impressive comeback as Michael Elliott returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter for a touchdown to tie the score at 21.

On the next kickoff from Ashe, Alleghany fumbled the kick and the Huskies were right there on the spot for the recovery.

Ashe marched down the field and fullback Brandon Wingler powered across the goal line for a two-yard touchdown run and Ashe’s first lead of the night at 28-21 with 8:17 remaining in the third quarter.

The Husky defense stood strong for the rest of the third quarter, giving Alleghany no yardage, especially in the ground attack where Alleghany could get only 29 yards the entire night.

In the fourth quarter, a promising Ashe drive was cut short by an interception with 8:56 left in the game.

Alleghany got a few yards, but eventually had to punt the ball.

The Huskies continued to go back to the ground game and ate up yards and the clock at the same time.

On a third down play with two minutes remaining, Cox sprinted ahead for the first down and what would be the game-clinching run as Alleghany only had one timeout remaining.

Ashe improved to 2-3 overall and started off the Mountain Valley Conference season with a 1-0 mark.

Cox finished the game with 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wingler added 12 rushing yards and a score.

Quarterback Connor Bowers was 10-15 passing for 114 yards and an interception.

Jacob Blevins finished the game with two catches for 55 yards. Maison McNeill had three catches for 27 yards and Cox had three grabs for 13 yards. Wingler and Cullen Ashley each had one catch.

Defensively, Bradley Lucas led the way with six tackles. Alex Laws recorded two sacks, Ashley had three tackles and a sack and Dustin Guy recorded three takedowns.

After the disastrous first quarter, Coach Hampton and the team made several adjustments on the fly that turned out to be a big difference.

“Our game plan was to throw it around a little bit and it didn’t work out. We couldn’t protect long enough to throw,” Hampton said. “We went back to what we do, running the left side.”

“Other than the first quarter, we played great.”

The Huskies will be right back on the field this week at home with conference rival Wilkes Central, hoping to remain at the top of the conference.

“We want to hang a banner in the gym at Ashe County High School with conference champions on it. This is step one up the ladder and we’ve got another step next week getting ready for Wilkes Central,” Hampton said.

Area scores:

North Wilkes 49, East Wilkes 32

Starmount 35, Elkin 21

Charles D. Owen 36, Avery 27

T.W. Andrews 55, North Surry 3

Hibriten 48, South Caldwell 26

East Surry 37, South Stokes 28

Watauga 42, St. Stephens 21

Surry Central 43, North Stokes 6

Newton-Conover 47, West Caldwell 7

West Stokes 40, Mount Airy 14

Wilkes Central 26, West Wilkes 25