The Ashe County High School Huskies will need every supporter possible during its battle with the North Wilkes Vikings tonight at North Wilkes in its effort to claim the top spot in the conference championship.
“This is a real big game,” said Huskies Head Football Coach Brian Hampton Friday.
The Huskies (5-3, 4-0) will battle the Vikings (7-1, 4-0) for sole possession of first place and a leg up on everyone else in the conference with just two games left to play after this week.
“We feed off the crowd,” said Hampton.
“It would be great to have a big showing down there,” he said.
North maintains the highest scoring offense in the conference, averaging 39 points per game. The Vikings are coming off of its lowest scoring output of the season, beating Starmount last week, 13-10. Previous to that game, the Vikings had scored at least five touchdowns in each of the seven games.
Ashe enters play off of a 39-14 victory against East Wilkes, the team’s fourth win in a row. The only team in the conference with a longer winning streak is North, who have won five consecutive contests.
Junior quarterback Connor Bowers surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last week in passing. Bowers has completed 81-150 passes for 1,038 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions this year.
Senior halfback Johnathan Cox leads Ashe with 655 rushing yards, all of those coming after missing the first two games of the season.
Through the air, Maison McNeill has a team-high 26 catches, 403 yards and three touchdowns. Bradley Lucas has added 14 catches for 178 yards and two scores from the tight end position. Jacob Blevins has five grabs for 128 yards, Cox has seven catches for 88 yards, Jacob Worley has added nine catches for 93 yards and Cullen Ashley currently has seven grabs for 62 yards.
Defensively, Michael Elliott is Ashe’s leading tackler with 38. Dustin Guy has 31, Blevins has 31 and Shawn Baker has 18. Ashley has a team-high five sacks and Matthew Hamilton holds the team’s highest mark with six interceptions.
The Vikings are led by quarterback L.J. Hendren. The senior has had a terrific year so far with 1,730 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The dual threat QB also has amassed 342 rushing yards to lead the team, including four rushing TD’s.
Ethan Adams and Nathaniel Hunt will help out carrying the ball in the backfield. Adams has 250 yards and four touchdowns while Hunt has ran for 225 yards and two scores.
Hendren has a trio of weapons through the air that will be looking to continue their great seasons. Josh Bare leads the MVAC in receiving with 34 catches for 799 yards and nine touchdowns. Josh Martin has 31 receptions for 500 yards and seven touchdowns and Justin Shepherd has added 21 grabs for 307 yards and two scores.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. from North Wilkes High School.
Prediction: Ashe 26, North Wilkes 20
Other area games:
Atkins at Bishop McGuinness
Avery County at Madison County
East Surry at North Stokes
East Wilkes at Starmount
Elkin at Wilkes Central
Forbush at Carver
Hibriten at Freedom
Mount Airy at Walkertown
South Stokes at West Stokes
Surry Central at North Surry
Watauga at Morganton-Patton
West Caldwell at East Lincoln
West Wilkes at Alleghany