WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Huskies picked a great time to play its best defensive game of the season on Monday night.
Ashe held the Wilkes Central Eagles to just seven points and dominated the visiting rival on the way to a 35-7 win.
“It was a big win. I think our defense played wonderful tonight getting after one of the best backs we’ve seen,” said Ashe County head coach Brian Hampton.
That running back Coach Hampton referred to is conference-leading rusher Andrew Bynum. The senior was held in check all night and lost two fumbles in the first quarter alone, a far cry from his last game where he ran for 280 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think Alex Richardson and Luis Ramos did a great job on the ends turning him (Bynum) back inside and our guys in the middle did a great job making tackles,” said Hampton.
Offensively, Ashe jumped out quick with 21 unanswered points in the first 13 minutes of game time.
“We started fast, got a turnover, should have turned that into points but didn’t, got another turnover and did turn that one into points to go up 14-0,” Hampton said.
Wilkes Central committed five turnovers and was beaten to the ball on a pooch kick that Ashe recovered and turned into points quickly.
Ashe scored its first touchdown at the 9:52 mark of the first on a laser pass from Colin Ellis to Judd Price, a 74-yard score.
On the very next Eagle possession, Ashe linebacker Ben Brown recovered Bynum’s first fumble of the quarter. However, the Huskies turned the ball over on downs at Central’s 6-yard line.
With 2:13 left in the first, junior safety Matthew Greer recovered another fumble by Bynum.
This time, the Huskies were able to capitalize. Skye Sullivan capped off a nice scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run and a 14-0 Ashe lead with 11 minutes left in the second quarter.
On the kickoff, Kendall Richardson perfectly placed an onside kick that Alex Richardson recovered.
It took the Huskies just 18 seconds to score. Ellis tossed a 35-yard TD to make the score 21-0.
The Eagles finally found the end zone on a 20-yard pass from senior Dalton Combs to junior Justin Parsons with 5:24 left in the half.
Leading 21-7 to open the third, Alex Richardson recovered his second fumble of the night on Wilkes Central’s first drive.
Less than a minute later, Ellis scored on a run from two yards out to push the Ashe lead to 28-7.
On the next Eagle possession, Tristen Jones recovered yet another Eagle fumble
This time, Wilkes Central’s defense was able to get a turnover of its own. Sophomore defensive end Billy Mitchell recovered a Husky fumble with 8:59 left in the third.
Ashe ended the next eagle drive with an interception. Garrett Miller picked off a throw from Combs with 1:42 left on the clock.
The Huskies added a late score on a 30-yard scamper from Ellis with 1:54 remaining in the game.
Ashe evened its record to 3-3 overall and moved to 2-0 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference
Wilkes Central suffered its first setback of the season, sitting at 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the MVAC.
With it being a short week for both teams, some ill-timed injuries hit the Huskies. Maison McNeill left the game with a knee injury, but Coach Hampton hopes it’s not too serious.
“We hope Maison just has a bruised knee, he took a helmet right on it.”
According to Hampton, Joseph Lowder will miss at least the next two games with a fractured jaw and Ross Summey will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Sam Hudler and Josh Roten left the game early too but their injury status is unknown.
Ashe will be right back home this Friday when they host West Wilkes for Homecoming.
“West Wilkes runs a spread offense and they’ve got a good running back too. We’ll have to be prepared for a lot of option looks,” said Hampton.
The Blackhawks are 2-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play after a pair of blowout losses to Wilkes Central (41-14) and Starmount (47-7).
Quarterback Alex Ortiz and tailback Chandler Caudill lead the Blackhawk offensive attack.
Week 7 scores
West Caldwell 42, Bandys 13
Hibriten 13, St. Stephens 7
Maiden 42, Newton-Conover 14
Watauga 54, Fred T. Foard 0
North Iredell 42, Alexander Central 28
East Wilkes 49, Alleghany 0
South Caldwell 41, Morganton-Patton 18
East Surry 54, South Stokes 6
Starmount 47, West Wilkes 7
Elkin 28, North Wilkes 14
Mount Airy 38, North Stokes 0
Freedom 76, Hickory 20
1. East Wilkes: 6-0 overall, 2-0 MVAC
2. Starmount: 4-2 overall, 2-0 MVAC
3. Ashe County: 3-3 overall, 2-0 MVAC
4. Wilkes Central: 5-1 overall, 1-1 MVAC
5. Elkin: 1-5 overall, 1-1 MVAC
6. West Wilkes: 2-4 overall, 0-2 MVAC
7. North Wilkes: 1-5 overall, 0-2 MVAC
8. Alleghany: 1-5 overall, 9-2 MVAC
Week 8 games
Alleghany at North Wilkes
East Surry at Walkertown
East Wilkes at Elkin
Fred T. Foard at Hibriten
Forbush at South Stokes
Freedom at Watauga
Maiden at West Caldwell
Mount Airy at Winston-Salem Prep
North Lincoln at Alexander Central
North Surry at West Stokes
South Caldwell at Hickory
St. Stephens at Morganton-Patton
Starmount at Wilkes Central
Surry Central at Carver
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87