WEST JEFFERSON — West Wilkes High School will be the site of a key Mountain Valley Athletic Conference game this Friday night with both teams trying to avoid a second early-season defeat.
The Blackhawks and the Huskies both sit at 1-1 in the MVAC and are looking to stay within one game of Wilkes Central, who currently sits at 2-0 in the conference.
Last week was a struggle for the Huskies, especially keeping control of the football. Ashe turned the ball over five times in the first half and gave up a lot of big plays to the Eagle offense.
For West Wilkes, the Blackhawks bounced back from a heartbreaking two-point loss to Wilkes Central in the conference opener with a big 37-14 win over Starmount last week.
Ashe got some tough injury news this week. The Huskies will be without senior wideout Judd Price for the “foreseeable future” according to head coach Brian Hampton.
“We’re not sure when he’ll be back or if he’ll be back, but we’re hopeful it’s before the end of the season,” Hampton said. “The main thing is that we get him healthy. His health is much more important than playing a football game.”
Hampton said that sophomore Corbin Coldiron will be in line to receive an increase in snaps at the wide receiver position with Price being out.
“We’ll make a few adjustments but for the most part we’re going to run our same offense. People will just have to step up and fill some definitely big shoes,” Hampton added.
The Blackhawks will be another tough matchup for the Huskies with a lot of size on each side of the ball.
“West Wilkes is a very big and very talented football team. They have as big of an offensive and defensive line as we’ve seen all year,” Hampton said. “I think Coach (David) Hunt has done a wonderful job and they are much improved. They played Wilkes Central very tough and beat Starmount handily last week. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Ashe expects to see a few different looks defensively from the Blackhawks, but that’s nothing new for the players and the coaches.
“We’ve seen them with two different looks, but we’re not exactly sure what we’re going to see. It’s like that every week. We’ll have to wait and see what they’re going to do to us in the first couple of series. Our offense is a lot different than what most people run,” said Hampton.
One of the brighter moments from last week’s tough loss was the success Ashe had in rushing the football. The Huskies ran for over 200 yards as a team with quarterback Colin Ellis and running back Matthew Greer leading the way.
“If the defense is playing five men in the box, then we have to run it. Matt had a good game, Colin had a good game, we were pleased with the running game, we just have to hold on to the football,” said Hampton.
For the Huskies defensively, having to deal with several short fields and quick possession changes with the turnovers last week put their backs up against the wall.
“It’s tough for the defense to keep teams out of the end zone when they get six extra possessions. Any time there is a sudden change, you don’t know how your guys are going to react,” said Hampton. “Our goal every week is to end the possession with a kick, hopefully an extra point or a field goal, but turnovers put our defense in a tough spot.”
Kickoff from West Wilkes will be at 7:30 p.m.
Week 8 area games
South Stokes at Forbush
West Caldwell at Maiden
Watauga at Freedom
West Stokes at North Surry
North Wilkes at Alleghany
Hendersonville at Avery County
Mountain Heritage at Charles D. Owen
Wilkes Central at Starmount
Walkertown at East Surry
Elkin at East Wilkes
Winston-Salem Prep at Mount Airy
Hibriten at Fred T. Foard
Alexander Central at North Lincoln
Hickory at South Caldwell
Carver at Surry Central
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.