Bandys opened the scoring on the very first play from scrimmage. After a good kickoff return, the Trojans’ first play was a 56-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Barrow to wide receiver Hunter Lackey. The extra point was blocked, but Bandys was up 6-0 in the first few seconds of the game.
Ashe marched the ball down the field on its first drive, which included a big pass play from quarterback Sam Gammons to junior wideout Eli Gambill that put the ball at the Trojans’ 23-yard-line. On the next play though, the turnover bug bit the Huskies as Kole Goss got hit hard and fumbled, ending a promising drive.
The Huskies forced a punt, and were marching down the field again. A pass from Gammons to Jonathan Cox put the Huskies at the Bandys’ 13-yard-line. This time, it would be a key holding penalty that moved Ashe back outside the Bandys’ 20. Ashe could not recover and ended up turning the ball over on downs with 4:05 left in the first quarter.
After another three-and-out by the Huskies defense, the Trojans were forced to punt from deep inside its own territory. The Husky special teams stormed through the line and blocked the punt. Jeremy Caffey recovered the punt in the endzone for a Husky touchdown. Andrew Lopp’s extra point was good, and Ashe was up 7-6 with 3:04 left in the first.
In the closing seconds of the first quarter, the Trojans faked a punt, and it appeared that the Huskies had stopped them and would have pretty good field position. However, a questionable facemask penalty gave the Trojans a first down and new life on the drive.
On the very next play, Barrow tossed his second TD pass of the day, this one from 31 yards out to DeAndre Mack. The two-point conversion was no good. Bandys captured a 12-7 lead over the Huskies as the first quarter finally came to an end.
Early in the second quarter, both Ashe and Bandys saw its first drives end in a punt. On the Huskies’ second drive of the quarter, Gammons began to move the Huskies down the field through the air once again. A pass from the senior quarterback to Matthew Sexton gave the Huskies terrific field position at the Trojans’ 13. Two plays later, Gammons found senior Tyler Stuart for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 4:19 left in the second quarter. Lopp connected on the PAT again, putting Ashe in front 14-12, a lead they would hold at halftime.
Things started out rough for Ashe in the third quarter, and the Trojans would quickly capitalize. The Huskies turned the ball over on the first play of the third quarter after the kickoff, giving Bandys’ the ball inside the Husky redzone. Dominique Young scampered into the endzone for an 18-yard touchdown run to retake the lead for Bandys. The two-point conversion was again, no good, making the score 18-14.
After that mishap, it was all Bandys the rest of the way. Backup quarterback Anthony Toscano took over for an injured Barrow, and helped lead Bandys to 28 unanswered points in the second half, and a place in the second round of the 2A playoffs. Toscano tossed a TD pass to Young, and led two other scoring drives to give Bandys the 40-14 victory.
While the Huskies’ saw its season come to an end, head coach Bill Strong was pleased with his team.
“Our kids played hard,” said Coach Strong. “I’m proud not only of the seniors, but for all of them.”
After a strong first half, the battle-tested Bandys team took advantage of Husky miscues and a key injury for leading rusher Kole Goss.
“The turnover bug bit us and Kole’s absence didn’t help us,” added Strong. “We played well and knew it was going to be a battle in the second half.
The Huskies finished the year with a 6-6 record overall.
In other games, three Mountain Valley Athletic Conference teams won in their respective first round playoff games. Starmount edged East Lincoln 21-13, but will be without quarterback Christian Hurt, who injured his neck and will miss the remainder of the playoffs. The Rams will host Salisbury this Friday.
Wilkes Central also earned a nail-biting victory over Lexington, taking a 35-34 win. The Eagles will travel to Thomasville to take on a Bulldog team that started off the season slow, but is currently playing the best football it has all season.
The final MVAC team to advance in the playoffs was West Wilkes. The Blackhawks pounded Cherryville 54-20, and will now hit the road to take on Swain County.
Forbush lost to Forest Hills 51-0, East Wilkes fell to Mitchell 33-8 and Alleghany lost at Murphy, 54-20.
Watauga advanced to the second round with a 14-10 win over Alexander Central while Avery saw its season end with a 63-35 loss at Swain County.