LEXINGTON – Ashland sewed up a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship Friday night by halftime, building a 32-0 lead over Lexington, eventually holding on for a 38-6 win over the Minutemen.
The Arrows, now 9-1 on the season and 6-1 in the OCC, now will wait to see where they will play next week in the state playoffs.
Ashland scored five touchdowns in the first half and then saw the second half start with a running clock because Ashland’s lead was more than 30 points.
The Arrows’ opening drive of the game ended with an interception by Lexington’s Joey Vore, but Ashland scored on five of its next six possessions.
Quarterback Grant Denbow threw 57 yards to John Wolfe for the Arrows’ first touchdown of the game with 5:31 to play in the opening quarter.
On the next series, Denbow raced 43 yards up the middle to make the score 13-0.
Alonzo Dampier scored on a 2-yard run with 4:28 to play in the second quarter and the Arrows were in front, 19-0.
Bryke Williams came up with an interception for Ashland, giving the Arrows the ball at the Lexington 11-yard line where Dampier quickly scored his second touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run. That gave Ashland a 26-0 lead.
Lexington turned the ball over on downs and Denbow threw a 20-yard score to Cole McQuate, giving the Arrows a 32-0 advantage with 23 seconds left before halftime.
At the half, Ashland had 260 yards of total offense while holding Lexington to 44 yards of total offense, 13 yards rushing and 31 yards passing.
The second half began with the Minutemen receiving and saw their best drive of the game, a 14-play, 62-yard effort ending with a 3-yard touchdown run by Vore. That cut Ashland’s lead to 32-6 with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter, and ended the running clock for the time being.
After a Lexington fumble, Ashland scored again. Dampier recorded his third touchdown of the game, a 6-yarder with 5:39 to play. That made the score 38-6 and saw the return of the running clock.
Ashland threatened one more time when McQuate intercepted the ball and returned it all the way down to the 12-yard line. Ashland then proceeded to run out the clock.
The Arrows did not attempt a pass in the second half and wound up with 148 yards passing and 162 yards rushing, good for 310 total yards. Dampier finished with 78 yards rushing on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns. Denbow gained 53 yards rushing. John Wolfe caught three passes for 89 yards.
Lexington, now 6-4 on the year and 3-4 in the OCC, was led by Hunter Biddle’s 85 yards rushing on 22 carries. A.J. Nickoli caught 7 passes for 33 yards and Vore completed 9 of 13 passes for 42 yards.
Coming into the season, Lexington was on an 18-game losing streak so they can now go into the off-season feeling good about a 6-4 record. Ashland now will get ready for a playoff game next week.