Huskies can't hold off Starmount
by Jordan Davis
WEST JEFFERSON --Starmount proved why it is the perennial Mountain Valley Champions after coming from behind to down the Huskies 20-13.
The Huskies jumped out to an early 13-point lead in the first quarter off two touchdown passes from Conner Bowers. They started the game with a 13-play drive that included two fourth down conversions, and was capped off by a Jacob Blevins touchdown catch.
Ashe struck quick on their next possession with a 53-yard touchdown catch by Ashe receiver, Mason McNeil, on the third play. However, this would virtually be the end of the Huskies offense as the Rams defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way.
Ashe coach Brian Hampton credits the Ram's in-game adjustments for the Huskies' lack of offense the rest of the game.
"They made an adjustment and I think we may have lost focus a little bit," Hampton said. "Our offense just couldn't get any first downs. We just didn't adjust quickly enough. I should have thrown the ball earlier."
From the three minute mark in the first quarter on, the Huskies could only muster four first downs, while the Rams scored 20 unanswered points. But, the turning point came with just four minutes left in the game.
The Huskies were already backed up on their 2-yard line, but Ashe fumbled the ball to set the Rams up at the 5-yard line. On the next play, Starmount running back Will Simpson punched it in to give them the Rams their first lead of the game at 20-13.
Despite being on the field for most the game, the Huskies defense shut down the Rams' option-attack. Twice the Ashe defensive line held their ground on critical third downs on the goal line to force field goals instead of giving up six points.
Ashe forced four three-and-outs and allowed virtually nothing through the air. The Rams put up 204 yards rushing, but had to run it 50 times to do so.
"The defense - they just do what they do, that's their motto," Hampton said. "(I) can't be more proud of a group of guys. I'll go anywhere and play anybody with them because they fight to the end."
The loss hampers the Huskies chances of winning the Mountain Valley outright, but with just one game left on their schedule next week against Elkin there is still a lot to play for. The Huskies can still win a share of the MVC championship with a win over the Buckin' Elks.
"They have to realize there's another home game," Hampton said. "It's Senior Night and we're still in it. We can still get a share. We have to win next week though."