WEST JEFFERSON — After an impressive offensive and defensive showing last week against Alleghany, the Huskies will head to Wilkes Central this Friday hoping for a repeat of last week’s victory.
Ashe County quarterback Colin Ellis shredded the Alleghany secondary for 452 yards on 18-30 passing to go along with six touchdown throws.
The Huskies had three receivers tally over 100 yards each. Junior Grant Thompson, who leads the team in catches this season, had a game-high six receptions that gained 105 yards and one touchdown. Senior Judd Price continues to haunt defenses each week with his speed and quickness. Price had five catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
The biggest performance from the wideout crew came from senior Dante Shuler, who had five catches for 182 yards and four touchdowns. This was Shuler’s third varsity football game and is just one of many weapons the Huskies will throw at opposing defenses.
“Dante is still learning, and he’s going to keep improving as he learns the offense. He gives us another weapon on the outside,” said Ashe County head coach Brian Hampton. “Teams have to decide if they want to play him straight up or if they want to double him. If they double him, we’ve got other guys capable of winning one-on-one matchups.”
Thompson, Price, Corbin Coldiron and Simon Houck are all finding a lot of success in the passing game.
“Grant leads us in catches, Judd is Judd, he’s always solid, usually has over 150 yards. Dante has made it tough on teams to shut down one side, they have to defend the whole field. Add in Corbin Coldiron and Simon Houck and we’re confident in our offense,” said Hampton.
Wilkes Central is coming off of a two-point victory over in-county rival West Wilkes, 23-21. The Eagles are 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the MVAC. The Eagles have had their highs this year, starting out with a pair of wins over North Iredell and West Iredell, but also a few struggles, especially in the game against Morganton-Patton. The Eagles surrendered 72 points in the home loss.
Offensively, Central likes to run the ball, but do have weapons in the passing game to go along with the rushing attack.
“They spread you all over the field and they spread you to run the football. If you don’t spread out with them, they are good at throwing the ball,” said Hampton. “They have guys on the outside that are very good at wide receiver. It will be a challenge to stop their run game and defend the pass.”
Defensively, Hampton said the Eagles will present a pretty athletic secondary to challenge the Husky offense.
“That is concerning that they can match up with us, but I still feel like if we execute and we protect the way that we have, I think we’ll be fine as far as scoring points,” he said. “Really the only team that has stopped us was Hibriten, they limited us to 14 points, but they are stopping a lot of teams.”
Ashe did get some good news this week as Tristen Jones, who has been out since the Watauga game, returned to practice and is expected to play. Both Houck and Coldiron, who left last week’s game early, are also expected to play.
“Overall I think the guys on the offensive side of the ball are confident, the guys on the defensive side of the ball are confident. We’ve played some tough teams, it’s a very daunting task to go down to Wilkes Central, but our guys are confident and ready,” Hampton added.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from Wes Steele Stadium.
– Colin Ellis has completed 99 of 186 passes this year for 1,921 yards and 21 touchdowns.
– Ellis is on pace to break Connor Bowers’ school record for total passing yards, which was set just two seasons ago.
– Ellis already broke the school and county record for most passing yards in a game when he threw for 521 yards against Watauga. He followed that up with 473 yards passing against Alexander Central and 452 yards last week against Alleghany.
– The series between Ashe County and Wilkes Central is tied at 9-9 since ACHS opened in 1998. The Huskies have won each of the last three meetings.
– Ashe has won just twice at Wilkes Central (2008, 2014).
Other area games
North Iredell at Alexander Central
East Wilkes at Alleghany
West Caldwell at Bandys
West Wilkes at Starmount
Winston-Salem Prep at Bishop McGuinness
St. Stephens at Hibriten
South Caldwell at Patton
Maiden at Newton-Conover
Elkin at North Wilkes
Mountain Heritage at Polk County
East Surry at South Stokes
Atkins at Walkertown
Fred T. Foard at Watauga
Mount Airy def. North Stokes by forfeit, North Stokes has folded its varsity program for the remainder of 2016.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.