Rivals face off Friday night


By Nathan Ham - [email protected]



WEST JEFFERSON — Two rivals square off on Friday night, and for the first time in 14 years, it will be Ashe that is trying to start a winning streak in the battle between the Huskies and Pioneers.

Ashe won a thriller last season with a game-winning field goal from Kendall Richardson late in the fourth quarter, snapping a 13-year losing skid to the Pioneers and scoring the first ever win for the Huskies over the Pioneers in Boone. The previous victory came in 2001 with a 14-7 win in West Jefferson.

This year, Ashe is coming off of a tough 26-14 loss to North Surry last week while the Pioneers ran all over Alexander Central for a 42-20 win. Ashe will face Alexander Central later in the season in the final non-conference game.

Ashe got a big game from Maison McNeill last week as the senior had over 150 receiving yards, one touchdown and added an interception on defense. Skye Sullivan ran for the team’s other touchdown.

Defensively, the Huskies played hard, but the Greyhounds had too many weapons in the end and saw their defense shut out the Huskies in the second half to get the win.

The Pioneers ran for seven touchdowns in last week’s season opener. Quarterback Aaron Dobbins scored two of those and tailback Evan Suggs had the other four, including a 51-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that gave the Pioneers a 42-14 advantage.

This is the third year in a row that Ashe County has opened the season with North Surry and Watauga as the first two opponents. Last year, Ashe won both of the games, but in 2013, the Huskies lost both of the games in very close fashion. The Greyhounds beat the Huskies 20-13 and the Pioneers held on to beat the Huskies 13-7 in overtime.

Watauga is once again led on the sidelines by head coach Ryan Habich. This is his third season as the Pioneer head coach.

In 2013, the Pioneers went 8-4 overall and Habich was named the Northwestern 3A/4A Coach of the Year.

Last season, the Pioneers were 9-4 and third place in the NW 3A/4A conference.

Kickoff for the Huskies’ home opener will be at 7:30 p.m.

Other area games

Avery County at McDowell

East Wilkes at Surry Central

Grayson County (Va.) at Alleghany

Maiden at Hibriten

North Iredell at Forbush

North Surry at Elkin

North Wilkes at South Stokes

South Davidson at North Stokes

Starmount at East Surry

West Caldwell at South Caldwell

West Iredell at Wilkes Central

West Stokes at Mount Airy

West Wilkes at Pine Lake Prep

Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87

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By Nathan Ham

[email protected]

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