Johnathan Cox ran for three touchdowns and the defense held the Blackhawks in check for a 35-14 win on Homecoming night at Ashe County High School.
Cox got his first touchdown just 25 seconds into the game after West Wilkes fumbled the opening kickoff. Cox scampered in from 11 yards out for the TD. Jamie Weaver’s extra point was perfect to give Ashe a 7-0 lead.
The Blackhawks knotted things up at 7-7 when Chance Huffman capped off a scoring drive with a four-yard run.
Ashe’s next score was courtesy of the defense. Matthew Hamilton picked off a pass and returned it all the way to the endzone for a score. The extra point put Ashe up 14-7 with 4:04 left in the first half.
The Blackhawks fumbled the ensuing kickoff for the second time in the first half, and Ashe recovered it again.
With 54 seconds left on a fourth-and-goal from the one, Cox followed his fullback Brandon Wingler and got into the endzone for the score. Ashe took a 21-7 lead at the halftime break.
West Wilkes cut its deficit to seven points after Huffman scored his second TD of the night on a 34-yard run through the Ashe defense with 11 minutes left.
The Huskies put the game away with a great fourth quarter that wore down the Blackhawks.
Cox scored his third TD of the night from six yards out with 10:41 left in the game to push the Ashe lead back to 14 points.
With 6:27 left in the contest, quarterback Connor Bowers threw a strike to Maison McNeill for a 23-yard touchdown and a 35-14 lead that Ashe would maintain the final few minutes.
Ashe improved to 4-3 overall and remained unbeaten in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference with a 3-0 record.
“The offensive line did a great job and we moved the line of scrimmage all night long,” said Head Coach Brian Hampton.
As the game went on, Ashe’s depth paid off in a big way.
“I think they (West) got tired. I think where we don’t play everybody both ways, where we are able to platoon a lot of people, I think we wore them down a little bit,” Coach Hampton said.
Cox carried the ball 27 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Hunter Barnes added 21 yards rushing as well.
Through the air, Bowers completed 9-12 passes for 106 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
McNeill finished with three catches for 53 yards and a TD. Wingler added two catches for nine yards. Grayson Gilley, Jacob Blevins, Bradley Lucas and Jacob Worley each added one reception.
Although the Huskies did turn the ball over five times, the defense was able to keep the Blackhawks from capitalizing on all of those miscues.
Dustin Guy led Ashe with seven tackles. Michael Elliott had six and Blevins finished with four tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Alex Laws had three tackles, two of which were for losses. Cox and Shawn Baker both had three tackles. Evan Walker had two quarterback sacks, Cullen Ashley had two tackles for loss and Hamilton finished with one tackle for loss and that big INT.
Ashe will travel to East Wilkes this week.