FALKNER - Two teams searching for their first win of the season took the field last Friday to kickoff Div. 1-1A play. Unfortunately, Ashland left Falkner still winless on the year.
The Blue Devils let a 26-20 lead entering the fourth quarter slip away as Falkner scored 22 unanswered points for the 42-26 win.
"I thought our offensive line played well and we completed passes that we haven't all year," said Ashland head coach Christopher Suggs. "Our downfall was earlier in the game, our defensive backs gave up too many big plays with blown coverage."
The Blue Devils fell into a 6-0 hole after turning the ball over with an interception on their first play from scrimmage. Falkner capitalized on the turnover with a 37-yard touchdown pass for the lead. Ashland responded with their first score of the game on their third drive when quarterback Z'Qwon Johnson found Kenny Morgan for the 41-yard touchdown pass. Johnson ran the ball in for the two-point conversion for the 8-6 lead with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Johnson used his arm to convert on 4th and 6 with a 20-yard completion to Christian Johnson, and then used his legs for the one-yard score on the next play to extend their lead to 14-6.
Another long touchdown pass from Falkner's Benton Hopkins to Zay Hudson on their next drive got the Eagles within two of the lead. Then Hudson picked off Johnson's pass with 3:30 left, setting up a touchdown run by Zion Grizzard for the 20-14 lead with 52 seconds to play in the first half.
After fumbling on their opening drive of the third quarter, Ashland forced a turnover on downs from Falkner to regain possession. The Blue Devils responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Z'Qwon Johnson to Christian Johnson to knot the game at 20-20. With 46 seconds left in the third, Jamayious Hudson put the Blue Devils ahead with a nine-yard score.
Falkner's 22 points in the fourth quarter was sparked by backup quarterback Cody Johnson, who entered the game due to an injury of Hopkins. Johnson posted 57 rushing yards and 35 rushing yards which included both the game-tying and go-ahead scores all in the fourth quarter. As the Blue Devils attempted to come back from the deficit, Falkner intercepted their third pass of the night, this one from Austin Sullivan, who returned it 50 yards for the touchdown with just 18 seconds left.
The Blue Devils' three drives in the fourth quarter ended with a punt, turnover on downs and the interception. Ashland ended the night with four turnovers, four drives ending in a punt and one turnover on downs.
Ashland hosts Biggersville this Friday as they continue 1-1A play. The Lions are (3-1, 1-0) on the season after they defeated Myrtle 46-20 last Friday night in their division opener.