Ashe picks up first win by beating R.J. Reynolds
by Staff Reports
WINSTON-SALEM -- Ashe County pulled off a 23-12 win over R.J. Reynolds for their first win of the season in impressive fashion Friday night.
The Huskies (1-2) scored first with seconds left in the first quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by starting running back, Jonathon Cox, who was making his season debut after suffering a knee injury over a month ago.
Cox had very limited action in the first half, but head coach Brian Hampton said his return sparked the team.
"We vote for a captain each week and Cox was voted one tonight," Hampton said. "They knew he was going to be able to play tonight and I think everyone was excited he was in the game."
The Huskies would not look back after that first touchdown, holding at least a seven-point lead the entire game.
Ashe would punch it in again just before the half after a Demon's fumble gave them the ball at the 25-yard line with just over a minute left in the half. After a big fourth down conversion by fullback Brandon Wingler, quarterback Conner Bowers snuck in the end zone behind his offensive line from one yard out to give the Huskies a 14-0 halftime lead.
Reynolds (0-3) came out with a much higher tempo on their first drive of the second half, and moved the ball down the field quickly for its first touchdown.
Bailey Tyler's 6-yard touchdown pass to Akia Pruitt capped a 44-yard, nine-play drive, although Ashe blocked the extra point and held a 14-6 lead.
Ashe didn't take long to answer. Micheal Elliott ran the ensuing kickoff back 43 yards to the Reynolds 48-yard line. Two plays later Bowers hit Jacob Blevins on a screen pass that he ran in from 29 yards out.
The next two possessions for the Demons resulted in turnovers. Ashe capitalized on one of them with a 19-yard field goal from Cesar Ruiz to put them up 23-6 and all but end the game.
Hunter Barnes ran the ball 14 times for 54 yards on the Huskies final three possessions as they ran out the clock and secured the win.
Whatever game plan Hampton designed over the past week to execute in the red zone worked. The team went 3-3 in red zone opportunities with two touchdowns and a field goal.
"We worked on a new package, and it paid off," Hampton said. "We spent more time this week worrying about the red zone. We were talking about the red zone and making it a point of emphasis in our practice."
On defense the main challenge was to contain Reynolds' athletes in space, which for most part the Huskies did. Tyner tried to scramble out of the pocket several times in the second half but could rarely find room to run.
The Demons slightly outgained the Huskies 232-220, but the difference was the four turnovers the Huskies forced -- two fumbles and two interceptions. Both of the fumble recoveries lead directly to scoring drives.
"This was a big win for us," Bowers said. "We really needed that. I think it will help us this season because this was a big school that we played here."
The Huskies will next play Hibriten at home this Friday in an endowment game.