North Surry and Surry Central high schools will no longer call the MVAC home as those schools have moved to the ranks of the Northwest Conference. Overall, the conference’s new look can be summed up in one phrase: a conference exchange. Although the MVAC lost two Surry County based schools to the Northwest, the MVAC will gain the Bucking Elks of Elkin High School, Alleghany High School Trojans, West Wilkes High School Blackhawks, and the East Wilkes Cardinals from the former 1A Northwest conference. Despite the conference shakeup, the MVAC will retain Ashe County High School’s conference rivals, Wilkes Central, North Wilkes, Starmount, and Forbush high schools.
The addition of Elkin High School will overall strengthen the MVAC in numerous sports. In 2008, the Elks’ football program came within one game of reaching the state championship in the Class 1A Playoffs before losing to eventual champion Mt. Airy High School. They will look to dethrone the conference’s power trio of Starmount, Wilkes Central, and the Ashe County Huskies. The Elks will have their chance at declawing the Huskies on September 18 in the friendly confines of their home stadium.
Elkin’s men’s soccer team finished with a record of 10-9-2 and will look to challenge the traditional conference powerhouses (Wilkes Central and Forbush). The Eagles of Wilkes Central have won more MVAC championships than any other current member.
The Elks did not fare so well on the hardwood as they struggled throughout the 2008-09 campaign on their way to a 3-18 record in men’s basketball. Elkin’s girls’ team also finished the season in the bottom half of the conference at a 6-16 mark.
With Alleghany County’s inclusion into the MVAC, a new neighboring county rivalry can begin to take shape between the Huskies and their neighbors to the east. Alleghany and Ashe traditionally schedule at least one nonconference game between their respective schools in numerous varsity sports. In the 2008 football campaign, the Trojans finished the season at 4-7, a sufficient record to earn them a number 11 seeding in the 1A state playoffs. The Huskies and Trojans will square off in a conference game on October 16 in Sparta.
Like their former Northwest 1A counterparts, EHS, the Trojans struggled to secure wins during the regular season on the hardwood. After a quick first round exit in the state playoffs as a wildcard, the Trojans men’s basketball team finished the season with only four wins. Despite a subpar men’s season, the Lady Trojans were able to boast a winning record and were able to advance to the second round of 1A state playoff action before losing to Mt. Airy.
Alleghany did have at least one bright spot in the 2008 fall sports season as the Trojan volleyball team finished the season at 26-3 on their way to advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Despite a strong performance in last year’s Northwest Conference, the Trojan netters will have to contend with the Mountain Valley’s top volleyball programs, Forbush and Starmount, if they hope to secure a piece of the conference spotlight.
West Wilkes High School of Millers Creek struggled to find wins during the 2008 football season. The Blackhawks won only two games last year and were tromped in the first round the 1AA NCHSAA State Playoffs, 57-7 by Murphy High School. West Wilkes will play host to the Huskies on October 2.
Neither Blackhawks’ men or women basketball team reached the post-season action on the hardwood. As for the 2008 volleyball season, the Blackhawks broke even on the season at 13-13, good enough for a #4 seed in the postseason.
In an attempt to rebuild off of last season’s 2-9 performance, the East Wilkes Cardinals will return to gridiron this season under a reformatted MVAC. The Cardinals did however manage to secure a #16 seeding in the 1AA state playoffs before being dismantled by Thomasville High School, which went on to capture the 1AA state crown.
Ashe County will host East Wilkes on November 6 as a part of their senior night festivities.
The Ronda based men’s basketball team will also have room for improvement as the Cardinals will try to make last year’s 6-18 record a distant memory to the East Wilkes faithful. Despite a sluggish performance by the men’s team in 208-09 season, the Lady Cardinals came within one win of a 20-win season and earned a four seed in the 1A state playoffs. The Cardinals and Huskies men’s soccer team will not face off on the soccer field until September 29 in Ronda. In volleyball action last season, the Cardinals finished the season at 16-9 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. They will face Ashe County for the first time as conference foes on September 22 in Ronda.
With the inclusion of Elkin High School and the retention of last year’s conference champions, the Starmount Rams, the Husky football program will have its hands full this autumn. The nonconference schedule will offer the Huskies little reprieve. Ashe kicks off the 2009 campaign against archrival Watauga on August 21 and will then take on last year’s reigning 1A state champs, the Mt. Airy Bears on September 4.
Ashe County’s men soccer program was able to post a wining record during the 2008 season at 9-8-1 and even qualified for the 2A NCHSSAA Playoffs before losing in the first round to MVAC powerhouse, the Wilkes Central Eagles.
With the 2009 fall sport season ready to get underway, the newly revamped MVAC will feature four new high schools from Ashe County’s surrounding foothills that are poised to leave their mark in all varsity sports.
Please continue to follow The Jefferson Post throughout the upcoming the fall, winter, and spring sports seasons for additional updates on the Ashe County Huskies and other MVAC teams. A complete roundup of all conference sports in each season will be published in later editions.