WEST JEFFERSON — The Starmount Rams got all the offense they needed from a pair of big runs from Brandon Prescott and let the defense handle the rest as they were able to beat the Ashe County Huskies, 16-6.
It was another tough night of red zone struggles for the Huskies, coming up empty on three key red zone trips that could have changed the entire ballgame.
The Huskies turned the ball over on downs at the Starmount two-yard line with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
Starmount also came up empty on its first red zone opportunity with a missed 35-yard field goal with 8:50 left in the second quarter.
With just under four minutes left in the half, the Ram defense stood strong again and denied the Huskies on fourth down, this time at the Starmount 12-yard line.
It looked like the Rams were trying to run out the clock to get to the halftime break, but Prescott had other ideas. On a carry with 19 seconds left in the quarter, the senior tailback sprinted down the field for a 47-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Starmount lead at the half.
Two plays into the third quarter, Prescott burst through the line again and scampered 65 yards for the second score of the night just 19 seconds into the second half. The extra point was missed, making the score 13-0
The Rams added a 32-yard field goal with 2:13 left in the third quarter to take a 16-0 lead to the fourth.
Ashe had first and goal at the Starmount three-yard line, but the red zone problems struck again in a big way with a fumble that was recovered by the Rams on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Huskies were able to avoid the shutout with a 25-yard pass from Colin Ellis to Maison McNeill with 48 seconds left in the game. Ashe went for two but the pass was dropped.
On the ensuing onside kick attempt, the ball failed to go 10 yards and Starmount would melt the final few ticks off the clock to knock the Huskies out of contention for a third straight conference title.
“Offensively we moved the ball between the 20s fine, then all of a sudden we drop two (passes) or we have a penalty. I bet we had more penalties tonight than in any other game we had,” said Ashe County head coach Brian Hampton. “We did not come out and play championship football.”
Ashe dropped to 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the MVAC while Starmount improved to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the MVAC.
“We picked a bad night to have a bad night. We didn’t tackle well, we didn’t catch the ball well, we were out of sync all night offensively,” said Coach Hampton.
The Huskies will close the regular season at home against Elkin next week while the Rams will host Alleghany on the season finale.
“Next week will be the last home game for the seniors most likely, so we’ve got to send them out in style,” said Hampton.
Ashe will now most likely be faced with a road game in the first round of the state playoffs.
Week 11 area scores
East Wilkes 24, Wilkes Central 21 (East Wilkes clinches 2015 MVAC Championship)
Alleghany 8, Elkin 0
West Stokes 21, Carver 20
East Burke 30, Chase 7
East Surry 49, North Stokes 0
Lincolnton 41, West Caldwell 7
East Lincoln 56, Maiden 28
Walkertown 35, Mount Airy 7
Mountain Heritage 68, Avery County 30
Morganton-Patton 22, Hibriten 20
South Caldwell 70, Fred T. Foard 14
Statesville 77, Alexander Central 43
Forbush 35, Surry Central 27
West Wilkes 28, North Wilkes 7
Freedom 52, St. Stephens 14
North Surry 49, South Stokes 13
Watauga 62, Hickory 19
Johnson County (TN) 20, Unicoi County (TN) 12
Grayson County (VA) 49, Narrows (VA) 21
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87