Ashe County Middle School wrapped up the number two seed in the upcoming playoffs with a 16-14 win over West Wilkes last weekend.
The first half was truly a defensive battle with neither team allowing a single point. West Wilkes drove the ball down to the five-yard line in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs held strong and got a fourth down stop to give the ball to the offense for its first drive. ACMS could do nothing with it and had to punt.
Ashe ended the second West Wilkes drive of the game with a turnover. Tristen Jones sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble. Matt Greer was there to recover the ball near midfield.
The Bulldogs forced another turnover late in the second quarter. Dante Shuler blasted the QB again, and the ball rolled away and was recovered by Will Taylor at West Wilkes’ 45-yard line. Ashe could not move the ball, however, and had to punt.
Finally in the third quarter, the Bulldogs broke through first with a huge passing touchdown from Colin Ellis to Chris Lonidier that went for 80 yards. Judd Price blasted into the end zone to complete the two point conversion, making the score 8-0 Ashe with 3:24 left in the quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, West Wilkes answered in a big way with an 80-yard touchdown run. The two-point play was good to tie the score at 8-8.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs got a spark from the defense once again. Shuler sacked the quarterback for a 12-yard loss on third down, forcing a punt.
On Ashe’s next possession, Ellis scored on 20-yard QB keeper. Price converted the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 16-8 lead with just 3:59 left in the contest.
West Wilkes had the answer again, this time West ran the kickoff back 90 yards for the touchdown.
Needing the two-point conversion to tie the game, Ashe’s Chris Bledsoe blew up the quarterback bootleg play in the backfield to keep the Bulldogs in front 16-14.
The Bulldogs successfully recovered the onside kick as Ethan Shepherd secured the recovery at midfield. Ashe was able to run the clock out the rest of the way to get the win.
ACMS will play Alleghany in the first round of the playoffs this Saturday at Wilkes Central. Central got the number one overall seed while Ashe had to settle for the second seed after Central defeated the Bulldogs earlier in the year.