ASHLAND – For the second time in the past three weeks, Ashland used a strong fourth quarter to win a football game. Two weeks ago it was against Mansfield Senior. Friday night the ArrowsFor the second time in the past three weeks, Ashland used a strong fourth quarter to win a football gamescored 19 points in the final quarter to defeat Madison, 36-14 in an Ohio Cardinal Conference showdown between two of the four OCC teams (Mansfield Senior and Wooster were the others) tied atop the OCC standings.
A win next week against Lexington assures Ashland, now 8-1 on the year and 5-1 in the OCC, of at least a tie for the championship.
Ashland celebrated Senior Parents’ Night against the Rams (5-4 and 4-2 in the OCC), but it was junior quarterback Grant Denbow and a very stingy Ashland defense that helped the Arrows to their eighth victory of the season and most likely (with a win next week) a trip to the state playoffs.
Denbow passed for two touchdowns in the first quarter, a 13-yard strike to Cole McQuate tied the game in between the touchdown throws on a 28-yard pass from Tresten Vail to super junior Tyrell Ajian.
Arrow kicker Bryce Stormer booted a 31-yard field goal with 10:57 to go in the second quarter after Scotty Valentine had recovered a Madison fumble. That increased the Ashland lead to 17-7.
Madison mounted its longest drive of the season, a 97-yard, 12-play drive capped by a Kanyon Tackett 6-yard run off of a beautifully-executed statue of liberty play. That ended the first half with the score 17-14 in favor of Ashland.
The two teams played a scoreless third quarter, setting up another Ashland-dominated fourth quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Ashland recorded a safety when the Madison punter had the ball snapped over his head and out of the back of the end zone.
Madison then had to give the ball back to Ashland and Stormer kicked his second field goal, this time from 32 yards out.
After a Madison punt, Denbow raced 48-yards up the middle to make the score 29-14 with 6:42 left in the game.
An injury to starting running back Lonzo Dampier caused Ashland coach Scott Valentine to use McQuate at running back and he closed out the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run, making the score 36-14 with 3:26 to play in the game.
The Ashland defense held Madison to minus-7 yards rushing on 27 carries. Vail threw for 171 yards on 12-of-26 passing, good for 164 yards of total offense.
Ashland gained 194 yards on the ground and Denbow completed 20-of-31 passes for 190 yards and the Arrows had 384 yards of total offense.