Huskies to face loaded Newton-Conover team in first round action
Last modified: Oct. 31, 2012
For the 10th consecutive season, the Ashe County Huskies football team has qualified for the 2AA state playoffs and will face Newton-Conover in the first round Friday night on the road.
Ashe County (4-7) will face a Newton-Conover team that has long since been considered a regional powerhouse.
The Red Devils finished 8-3 overall and 6-1 in Catawba Valley Conference action. They are led by Coach Brint Rusell.
Looking at Newton-Conover's schedule, the Red Devils were dominant down the stretch, winning their final four games by an average of 24 points.
Altogether, Newton-Conover has outscored its opponents 371-185 on the season.
The Red Devils, however, had trouble finding traction in the early stages of the season, losing three of its first five games before winning the last six.
At quarterback, Kevin Cline who has averaged 111 yards per game and 63 rushing yards per contest leads the Red Devils. He has a completion percentage of 51 and has tossed 15 touchdowns overall.
The Red Devils rely on a trio of running backs in Nick Baker, Marquis Pope, and Matt Coulter, who combined have accounted for 1,600 yards of total offense.
Pope also leads the Red Devils receiving corps with 388 yards and four touchdowns. He is followed by senior Sam Avis with 342 yards and four scores.
If the Huskies are to be successful in upsetting the Red Devils, they will have to contain their dual threat quarterback while worrying about an explosive ground game.
In the high school 15 years of playing football, Ashe County has advanced to the second round only once. The Huskies defeated South Iredell in 2007 before falling to Pisgah in the next round.
Ashe has not hosted a home playoff game since 2008, when they fell to Bandys 42-24.
Altogether, only one team from the Mountain Valley Conference — Forbush High — qualified for state playoff action this November.
In IA West action, Alleghany (3-7) and Elkin (the MVAC 1A winner) will face off again in the first round in Sparta. East Wilkes (2-8) will travel to Bryson City to take off the 1AA defending state champs of Swain County (10-0).
West Wilkes (4-6) will play at home against Cherryville High (4-6).
The North Wilkes High Vikings (3-7) will be on the road to face an unblemished Hendersonville High squad (10-0).
In the 2A Midwest bracket, Starmount (9-1) will host Starmount (5-5) in Boonville while Wilkes Central (9-1) will take on Lincolnton (6-4). The Eagles derailed Starmount's perfect season in the final week of the regular season.