WILMINGTON — A week after falling on the road at Purnell Swett, Ashley looked to bounce back on Friday in its home opener against Fairmont.
The Screaming Eagles found what they were looking for. A 19-point comeback in the third quarter culminated with Ashley’s third earned safety of the night and a 45-43 win.
Special teams play made the difference. The third safety came when Ashley (2-1) tackled Fairmont’s Jahkeem Moore in the end zone on a punt return, putting the game just out of the Golden Tornadoes’ reach with three minutes remaining.
It came nearly two full quarters after the Screaming Eagles jump-started their comeback with a fake punt attempt that turned into a 78-yard touchdown pass from Cade Jones to Makai Stanley.
“That was unbelievable,” said Ashley coach Jeff Turner. “We had two fake punts — the first one was a touchdown and the second one resulted in a touchdown. Then the three safeties. I think once momentum got on our side they started to make mistakes and we capitalized on those mistakes.”
Down 29-10 just minutes into the second half, Ashley went on a 33-point scoring run to take control of the game, starting with Stanley’s touchdown catch-and-run from Jones.
Stanley, who formed a two-headed rushing attack with Zach Williams in the backfield, finished with four touchdowns and more than 200 total yards. Williams carried the load throughout, running the ball 28 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Despite the Screaming Eagles finishing with 312 total yards, they would not have been in the position to win without Fairmont’s multiple special teams miscues – mainly a few bad snaps over the punter’s head that gave Ashley premium field position on multiple occasions and led directly to six points.
“We practiced it because we knew their snaps looked sort of dicey on film,” Turner said. “We had guys coming hard and spying … we were going and it worked to our advantage. They just couldn’t keep the snap down.”
Fairmont (0-2) wasn’t without highlights of its own. Moore opened up scoring with a 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, while Jayvon Morris took a pitch from the quarterback a few drives later that resulted in a 54-yard score.
Moore also tossed a 40-yard touchdown to Jordan Waters on the opening drive of the second half. Waters also had a 50-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Fairmont hosts West Bladen next week.
South View tops Lumberton in high-scoring affair
FAYETTEVILLE — Despite holding South View scoreless in the fourth quarter on the road Friday night, the deficit the Lumberton football team put itself in was too big to surmount in a 53-49 loss.
The Pirates (0-3) fell back 27-6 in the opening minutes of the second quarter to South View (3-0) as Donovan Brewington scored one of this three touchdowns. Lumberton responded by cutting the lead to 33-22 with four minutes to go in the first half when Braylan Grice connected with Yakemiean Johnson for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The 11-point deficit was the closest Lumberton got to the Tigers until the fourth quarter. A 47-22 South View lead in the third quarter dissolved over the course of the second half as Lumberton scored once through the air on Grice’s other touchdown pass of the night for 35 yards to Jordan McNeill, and three more times on the ground.
Sophomore running back Tazarie Butler scored twice in a four-minute span for the Pirates to cut the lead to 53-43 with 11 minutes left in the game, and Grice’s one-yard keeper for a touchdown brought the score to its final before the Tigers recovered the onside kick.
Butler had a team-high 132 yards on the ground for Lumberton, while Grice added 112 yards and 231 yards through the air. McNeill had 106 yards receiving. South View’s Matthew Pemberton rushed for 169 yards and had two rushing scores and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Lumberton plays at West Brunswick next week.