Ashville Opens Season With 15-6 Win Over Ragland
Barry Simmons' career as the Ashville head football coach began with a win Friday night as the Bulldogs defeated county rival Ragland in a thriller.
"I knew it was gonna be a slugfest coming in; we all knew that throughout the week," Simmons said following the win, "But I'm proud of the way we just kept grinding even when things weren't going our way, especially on offense. We will take the win, however it comes."
Both teams were held scoreless throughout the first quarter, with Ashville striking first on a 55 yard punt return by Derrick Walker late in the first half. The PAT missed, and the Bulldogs led 6-0 going into halftime.
Things looked to be getting tight when Ragland's LaDarious Spikes took the first play of the third quarter for a touchdown. The rest of the third quarter, however, did not feature much action and the game was tied going into the final period.
The game was eventually placed in the hands of kicker Reid Eastis, who made a 26 yard field goal in the fourth quarter that turned out to be the game winner. When asked about his decision to kick the field goal instead of trying for a first down Simmons said, "Reid is a senior, and we have a lot of confidence in him. We practice field goals every single day, and I've seen him make that kick lots of times, so it was an easy decision to send him out."
Despite the offensive struggles, the defense was dominant for Ashville. They held Ragland to a mere 90 yards of total offense and only two first downs on the night. Ty Armstrong led the way with 12 total tackles and Clay Keller added 8 along with 2 sacks.
Ashville opens home play Friday night against Springville. This will be the 56th meeting in the historic rivalry. Springville leads the all time series 26-25-4 with the first game between the two teams coming in 1955, an 18-18 tie. The last time the two met was in 2013, a game that Springville won 21-0.
Perkins Carden is a senior at Ashville High School and a Writer for www.AshvilleAthletics.com