The Ashe County Middle School Bulldogs picked up right where they left off after a 10-0 season last year with a 38-18 win over East Wilkes in its season opener.
ACMS got on the board first. Pierce Cox picked off an errant pass from the East Wilkes QB, and returned it 29 yards to the one-yard line. Quarterback Collin Ellis punched it in for the first score of the season. The Bulldogs went for two and got it on an option pitch from Ellis to Judd Price.
East Wilkes answered back with a 10-yard touchdown pass on its next drive. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, putting the score at 8-6.
In the second quarter, East took its first lead of the game after converting on a huge fourth down play. A deep pass downfield set up a first and goal after Matt Greer made the TD saving tackle at the two. The Bulldog defense buckled down and stopped East on three straight plays, forcing a fourth down from inside the 10. East converted the fourth down for the go-ahead touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, but East Wilkes was on on top 12-8.
Greer opened the the next drive with a 55-yard kickoff return to set the Bulldogs up with great field position. Ellis once again let his legs do the work at the QB position. He cut through the East defense for a 15-yard TD run. Price carried the ball into the end zone for another successful two-point attempt, putting ACMS ahead 16-12 with 4:29 left in the first half.
On the next East Wilkes possession, Tristen Jones blasted East’s ballcarrier and forced a fumble. Calder Clay recovered and gave the Bulldogs some more good field position.
It took two plays for the Bulldogs to cash in on the turnover. Ellis threw a nice ball to Chris Lonider for a 19-yard completion, which put the ball at the one-yard line. Price powered into the end zone for the Ashe touchdown. Ellis took the ball across the goal line for a third successful two-point attempt, making the score 24-12.
Ashe started to pull away before the halftime break, getting another touchdown. After a turnover for each team, then a punt by East Wilkes, Ellis found Ethan Cox for a 22-yard catch, then a 35-yard touchdown pass to Cox. The fourth two-point conversion of the game was good, and with 38 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs exploded ahead for a 32-12 lead.
The third quarter started with a bang. After an East Wilkes punt, Ellis scampered down the field for a 57-yard touchdown run. No two-point conversion attempt was allowed due to the mercy rule being in effect, making the score 38-12 with 5:55 left in the quarter.
East Wilkes scored a TD in the fourth quarter, but the game was well in hand at that point.
ACMS sits at 1-0 on the season and will be back on the field this Thursday against Johnson County Middle School.