WEST JEFFERSON — The schedule does not get any easier for Ashe County this Friday with the Alexander Central Cougars making the trip up the mountain for the final non-conference game of the season.
Ashe is coming off of a 64-14 loss at Hibriten last week while Alexander ran all over Bandys for a 75-32 win.
The Cougars have been impressive early on in the season, scoring at least 46 points in each of their three victories. Alexander beat Watauga in their season opener, 46-35, and then followed that up with a 54-7 win over Bandys in the second week of the season.
“They (Alexander) are a very big, physical and fast team. Both tackles are 300-pounders and they like to run the football,” said Ashe County head coach Brian Hampton. They’re a Wing T team with a very good quarterback and very good offensive line. They can throw it, but they prefer to run it.”
In last week’s game, the Cougars ran for 535 yards on just 24 carries against Bandys, an incredible 22 yards per carry. Junior Devon Weiss led the way with nine carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow junior Jacob Parson had five carries for 168 yards and one score. Bryson Godfrey ran for 149 yards on five carries with one score. Overall, the Cougars ran for eight touchdowns in the game.
Through the air, quarterback Gunnar Anderson completed 3-7 pass attempts for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
After three games, Godfrey leads the team with 430 rushing yards followed closely by Weiss with 373. Overall, the Cougars have 1,253 rushing yards already.
Defensively, linebacker Levi Childers will be one of the team’s key playmakers on that side of the ball. Childers leads the team with 27 tackles and two forced fumbles.
Defensive backs Kendall Flowers and Austin Wooten will be challenged by a strong Husky passing attack. Both players have picked off a pair of passes this year, but will have to be on top of their game to slow down Judd Price, Dante Shuler and the rest of the Husky wideouts.
On the defensive side for the Huskies, the team has had to deal with some skilled and talented teams, and this week is definitely no different.
“Right now defensively we’re just trying to find 11 guys that will go out there and play with some emotion and intensity, so we’ve been shuffling the lineup a little bit,” said Coach Hampton.
Ashe has found plenty of success moving the ball during games this year, but finishing drives off have been a challenge at times.
“Last week we moved the ball offensively. We passed for over 320 yards again and got inside the 30, but we had trouble putting it in. We had one or two plays that just stalled drives,” said Hampton.
These two teams faced off for the first time last year with the Huskies coming away with a 45-22 win.
The way the season schedule lined up, it’s hard to believe that it has been almost a month since the Huskies played in front of their home crowd. Returning to the friendly confines of Ashe County High School could be a nice boost for the young Husky team.
“I hope we have a big crowd there. Our fans have traveled well the last couple of weeks and we appreciate that,” said Hampton. “Hopefully coming back home, we’ll have a little more energy and get rolling here.”
Kickoff from Ashe County High School is at 7:30 p.m.
Week 5 area games
Walkertown at West Stokes (Thursday night)
East Wilkes at Forbush
South Stokes at Bishop McGuinness
Surry Central at Mount Airy
West Wilkes at North Iredell
Avery County at North Wilkes
North Stokes at Patrick County (VA)
Maiden at South Caldwell
Starmount at Thomasville
North Surry at Atkins
Grayson County (VA) at Glenvar (VA)
Johnson County (TN) at Chuckey-Doak (TN)
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.