ASHLAND - Things did not go according to plan for Coach Christopher Suggs in his first game as the head coach of the Ashland Blue Devils.

Ashland opened their season with a 43-8 home loss to Walnut last Friday, Aug. 17.

Walnut received the opening kickoff and needed just three plays to get into the end zone when Walnut's Kris Perry took a 22-yard run for six points. On the ensuing kickoff, Ashland's Zayvon Knox fumbled and Perry scooped and scored again to give Walnut the 14-0 lead before Ashland's offense ever took the field.

"We always try to keep our kids' heads up but the momentum definitely swung their (Walnut) way," said Coach Suggs on the start of the game. "When you have one of your best players fumble like that, its hard to keep him up because he drives the team. It definitely was a momentum shift."

Walnut held a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and with the first play of the second quarter, Perry took the Ashland punt 34 yards for his third score of the night.

On the last play of the first half, Knox took the snap and raced 38 yards for the touchdown. Tavionne Stigger ran in the two-point conversion.

With 1:15 left in the third quarter, Walnut blocked the Ashland punt and scored their third special teams touchdown of the night. Those three mistakes, along with two touchdowns called back by penalties left Coach Suggs with some regret.

"Tonight, we left like 28 points on the field," Suggs said. "If not for that, it is a different ball game. Even if they still win, it is by a score and not blowing us out."

Ashland will shift their focus to East Union this Friday, Aug. 24 where the Blue Devils will play on the road for the first time this season. The Urchins are coming off a 33-32 win over Falkner last Friday and defeated Ashland 35-16 last season.

"I know East Union is disciplined," Suggs said of his next opponent. "I know they have it together. They have a program that is established."

Kickoff between the Blue Devils and Urchins is set for 7 p.m.

dillon.barnes@journalinc.com

Twitter: @SS_Sports_

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