RONDA, N.C. — Ashe County will look to hand East Wilkes its first loss of the season on Friday night. The Huskies (4-3, 3-0 MVAC) travel to face the Cardinals (7-0, 3-0).
The winner will be the only unbeaten team left in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
Ashe has improved every game as the season has went along and have won four games in a row.
Last week, the Huskies scored 30 unanswered points to beat West Wilkes, 37-13.
For East Wilkes, the beat goes on in a big way. The Cardinals smashed rival Elkin last week, 55-0, and have barely been tested so far this year. The Cardinals have yet to allow a single point in three MVAC games and have won all of its games by double digits.
The season started with a 34-0 win against South Stokes. The Cardinals followed that up with a 46-13 beat down of Surry Central.
North Stokes gave East Wilkes its toughest game of the year to date, but the Cardinals were able to hang on for a 27-17 win.
Since then, it has been four dominating performances. East beat Forbush, 48-15, North Wilkes 21-0, Alleghany 52-0 and Elkin 55-0.
The schedule does get a bit tougher down the stretch, beginning with the Huskies this week. After this, East Wilkes travels to Starmount, hosts Wilkes Central and goes to West Wilkes in the season finale.
Cardinal head coach J.K. Adkins took over the program in 2011 from former coach Monty Chipman who coached the Cardinals from 2003-11. Adkins had a brief stop at Watauga as an assistant coach before taking a couple of head coaching positions at South Iredell and Morganton-Patton. Before making the stop at East Wilkes, Adkins was on the coaching staff that helped Salisbury win the 2AA State Championship in 2010.
After a slow start at East Wilkes, Coach Adkins has gotten the program back on track and having its best season ever as a member of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference. The Cardinals joined the MVAC in 2009, the only year the program had a winning record. East finished that season with a 7-6 record and a 4-4 mark in the conference.
Over the past 15 years, East Wilkes’ best record came in 2004 when the team finished 9-4 overall but saw the season come to a quick end in the second round of the state playoffs.
The Cardinals have not won a conference championship since 1995 and are off to its best start since the 1981 season when they went 10-0 in the regular season but lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. from Ebb Tharpe Field on the campus of East Wilkes High School.
- Ashe County holds a 5-1 record against East Wilkes. The Cardinals’ lone win came in 2012, a 23-8 win that nearly knocked the Huskies out of the 2A state playoffs.
- A win for the Huskies would give them 16 wins in the last 18 MVAC games.
- The winner will be in sole possession of first place in the MVAC.
- Ashe County is ranked 42nd in the MaxPreps 2A poll in North Carolina.
- East Wilkes is ranked 23rd in the MaxPreps 2A poll in North Carolina.
Other area games
Alexander Central at Lake Norman
Bishop McGuinness at Mount Airy
Carver at North Surry
East Burke at Crest
East Surry at Winston-Salem Prep
Elkin at West Wilkes
Hibriten at Watauga
Maiden at Bandys
North Wilkes at Starmount
Morganton-Patton at Fred T. Foard
Polk County at Avery County
South Stokes at Surry Central
Walkertown at North Stokes
West Caldwell at West Lincoln
West Stokes at Forbush
Wilkes Central at Alleghany
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87