Seventh and eighth graders each got to play in their own game last week against Johnson County, Tenn.
The seventh grade game featured six minute quarters, while the eighth graders played with eight minute quarters.
In the first game, the Johnson County seventh grade squad scored a touchdown on a third-and-long play with a 65-yard halfback pass. The two-point conversion was no good, but Johnson Co. was up 6-0.
ACMS started driving down the field with long runs from Jon Reavis, Ethan Cox and Grant Thompson. The second quarter started with a touchdown run from Cox. Thompson converted the two-point conversion with a bootleg run into the end zone, putting the Bulldogs ahead 8-6.
After a Johnson County turnover, the Bulldogs capitalized quickly for its second touchdown of the quarter. Thompson tossed a 32-yard TD pass to Jake Richardson. The extra point attempt was no good, making the score 14-6 in favor of the home team Bulldogs.
A quiet third quarter set up an exciting fourth quarter with the game on the line between both seventh grade squads. Ashe struck first after Richardson picked off an errant pass and returned it 17 yards, setting the Bulldogs up with good field position in Johnson Co. territory.
Reavis brought the ball to the 12-yard line with a 34 yard run, then eventually punched in a TD from one yard out to put the Bulldogs up 20-6.
Johnson Co. answered with another halfback pass touchdown, this one from 38 yards out. The two-point conversion was no good, putting the score at 20-12.
With 18 seconds left, ACMS recovered the onside kick and clinched the 20-12 victory.
The eighth grade game started similar to the earlier contest, with Johnson Co. scoring the first TD early on. This one was a 60-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. The two-point conversion was successful, giving Johnson County an 8-0 lead.
ACMS battled back quickly. Quarterback Colin Ellis ran the option to perfection, pitching the ball to Judd Price for a touchdown. The Bulldogs converted the two-point play to tie things up at 8-8.
Johnson County started with good field position after a fake punt from Ashe failed. They drove the ball down to the Ashe 12-yard line, but Matt Greer sacked the Johnson Co. quarterback and forced a big loss. The defense eventually held on a fourth down play, giving the ball back to the Bulldogs.
Ashe had to punt after a three-and-out, but the Bulldog defense rose to the occasion and made a game-changing play. Greer once again forced a fumble, but this time he recovered it and ran 77 yards for a defensive touchdown. The two-point conversion was good, making the score 16-8.
After the kickoff, Johnson County got brave and decided to go for it on fourth down from its own 22-yard line. Greer and Josh Roten pulled down the QB for a sack at the 15-yard line, putting the Bulldogs in excellent field position.
On the first offensive play after the defensive stand, Ellis found Chris Lonider for a 15-yard TD pass. The two-point conversion was no good, but the Bulldogs had extended its lead to 22-8.
With just 10 seconds left in the first half, Johnson County scored on a 55-yard trick play to pull right back in the game. Ashe held a 22-14 lead at the halftime break.
The third quarter opened with a three-and-out from the Bulldogs, and a long punt return from the Johnson Co. returner that put the ball at the ACMS five-yard line. However, the Bulldog defense stood strong again, forcing a turnover and ending the scoring threat.
Two plays later, Ellis found Lonider on another huge pass play, this time a 90-yard touchdown. The two-point play was no good, making the score 28-14 Ashe.
The fourth quarter was all about the Bulldog defense. Greer and Tristen Jones helped end drives with quarterback sacks, and the Johnson County squad just could not get anything else going against the swarming Bulldog defense. ACMS captured a 28-14 victory.
ACMS returns to the field on Sept. 8 at Alleghany. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.