WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County was not in a good mood on Friday night and took it out on West Wilkes to the tune of a 63-30 win on senior night at Husky Stadium.
The Huskies, who are now tied with Elkin in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference football standings at 5-1, came into Friday’s game looking to rebound after letting a second-half lead against East Wilkes a week earlier slip away in a one-point loss.
Ashe County (6-4) bounced back by putting up a season high for points — and did it in just three quarters.
“We were mad that we let one slip away from us,” said Ashe County Head Coach Brian Hampton. “We did not play well defensively in the second half in that game, did not score any more. You score 42 points, you should win but we were upset, we didn’t finish the game and that was sort of our talk this week is that we’ve got to finish things.”
The Huskies avoided a second-straight second half meltdown with 27 points in the third quarter, on the strength of three touchdown passes from quarterback Dawson Cox.
Cox, who finished 35-of-46 passing for 457 yards, threw six touchdown passes (three in each half) with his final one going to Austin Poe for 58 yards, giving Ashe a 63-24 lead after three quarters. Poe had 14 catches for 171 yards and three scores.
“We knew they were going to come out and throw the ball,” said West Wilkes Head Coach Todd Rutz. “We felt like we stayed in the game, but you can’t win a game when you have two or three turnovers. It’s hard and we did, but I told the kids that we’re so close to being successful.”
The Blackhawks (1-9, 0-6) jumped out to the early lead after Shane Pellicano took a short pass from quarterback Jackson Jarvis and raced 67 yards to the end zone. Jarvis’ two-point conversion pass to Robert Heater gave West an 8-0 lead just a minute into the game. Pellicano tallied two catches for 86 yards for West.
Boen Crouse, one of four Ashe seniors recognized before the game, responded as he had a hand in his team’s next three scores — a pair of 15-yard touchdown catches (with the latter coming off a Blackhawk turnover) from Cox and a 2-yard rushing score. Crouse tallied a game-high 119 yards on just nine carries.
After Dallas Rush scored on a 4-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion to make it 29-16, the Blackhawks (1-9, 0-6) looked to be in good shape to make it a one-possession game after forcing a turnover on downs inside the Ashe’s red zone.
Jarvis found Garrett Patrick for 26 yards on a fourth-and-five play. The senior followed up with a 19-yard completion to Pellicano and was aided by a 15-yard Ashe penalty to set up first-and-ten from the Husky 30.
Two players later, J.J. Mannan picked off Jarvis and Crouse followed up with his fourth of five touchdowns on a 90-yard run to make it 36-16 at halftime.
“It was good to see us put some points on them,” said Rutz. “They had their first team in there until the last play of the game and we were able to move the ball against them, which we thought we’d be able to run the ball against them, just shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times in the first half.”
In addition to Pellicano and Rash, Garrett Patrick and Seth Culler each added 10-yard touchdown runs in the second half. Patrick paced the Blackhawks on the ground with 108 yards on 14 carries.
West Wilkes will look to get back into the win column when it hosts senior night against North Wilkes this coming Friday.
Ashe County can clinch no worse than a share of the MVAC title with a win at Starmount next Friday. The Rams dropped a 21-13 decision at Wilkes Central on Friday but Hampton knows that the Rams will be a tough task.
“Starmount’s a good football team and they’ve given me fits in my eight years here (Ashe has only beaten the Rams twice in Hampton’s tenure) and defensively, we’ve got to get better. That’s sort of been our Achilles’ heel the last few weeks, we’ve just not stopped people in the second half,” said Hampton. “Our conditioning is what it is at this point in the year, but we’ve got to tackle better and we’ve got to find a second wind in the second half.”