The Mountain Valley Conference Championship picture got even more clouded with Starmount getting a big road victory over Ashe on Friday night.
Ashe scored quickly with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Connor Bowers to Bradley Lucas at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter. Jamie Weaver’s extra point was good.
The Huskies once again found pay dirt in the first quarter to take a 13-0 lead. Bowers dropped back and found Maison McNeill for a beautiful 53-yard TD pass.
Starmount cut into its deficit late in the second quarter. Quarterback Zach Freed ran the ball in from 10 yards out, making the score 13-7
On the ensuing kickoff, Ashe fumbled the kick, giving the Rams great field position.
The Ashe defense held strong and kept the Rams out of the endzone, however Nick Gunnell hit a short field goal to make the score 13-10 at the halftime break.
Starmount tied the contest at 13-13 with Gunnell’s second field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Ashe got the ball with four minutes left in the game, hoping to drive down the field and put up points to take the lead or win the game.
However, the Ram defense had other ideas. A pass to Grayson Gilley was completed, but several Starmount players swarmed to the the ball carrier and ripped the ball out of his hands and recovered deep in Ashe territory.
Will Simpson capped off the drive with a five-yard TD run and a 20-13 lead.
Ashe got the ball back in the closing seconds, but an intercepted pass ended all hope of a late score.
The Huskies fell to 6-4 overall and 5-1 in the MVAC. Starmount improved to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in conference action.
“We fought hard, we came out real fast and scored a couple of touchdowns early and then after that our offense just stalled,” said Head Coach Brian Hampton
Starmount, who has been at the top of the conference for several years, returns to a familiar spot, in a tie for first place.
“That is where we want to be. To be the man you’ve got to beat the man. Starmount is still the man and we went toe-to-toe with them. A few plays here or there and that’s the difference in the game,” Hampton said.
Next up, Ashe will host Elkin on Senior Night with not only a share of the conference championship on the line, but also the top seed in the 2A playoffs from this conference.
“We win next week and we’re the highest seed out of the 2A in our league. If we lose next week, we won’t be. With three teams with one loss, we’ll still have a share, but we’ve got to win next week,” said Coach Hampton.
As a team, Ashe was held to just 56 yards rushing. Johnathan Cox carried the ball 22 times for only 49 yards.
Connor Bowers was solid through the air, completing 14 of 25 passes for 159 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
McNeill led Ashe with three catches for 80 yards and a score. Lucas finished with one catch for 11 yards and a TD. Jacob Blevins had three grabs for 21 yards, Gilley had three grabs for 29 yards and two fumbles and Jacob Worley had one catch for 10 yards.
Dustin Guy was great on defense with 11 tackles. Blevins finished with eight tackles, Lucas had five and Alex Laws had five tackles as well.
Other area scores:
Alleghany 47, Elkin 6
East Surry 52, Atkins 0
Carver 14, West Stokes 0
Hickory 42, Watauga 27
Lincolnton 48, West Caldwell 21
Mountain Heritage 38, Avery County 14
Mount Airy 32, North Stokes 0
North Surry 42, South Stokes 14
Hibriten 21, Patton 13
Forbush 27, Surry Central 7
Bishop-McGuinness 25, Walkertown 7
North Wilkes 39, West Wilkes 7
East Wilkes 29, Wilkes Central 21