This is unchartered territory for the West Ashley football team.
For the first time in school history, the Wildcats are 4-0 after their 35-28 victory over Colleton County on Friday night.
“We’re excited and I’m excited for the kids,” said West Ashley coach Bobby Marion.
Junior tailback Marquize Jenkins led the way for West Ashley with 91 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Quarterback Pedro Manigault added 82 yards on 21 carries for the Wildcats.
The Cougars, after snapping their 34-game losing streak last week, fall to 1-3.
West Ashley used a little trickery to get on the board in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats lined up in punt formation and snapped the ball to upback Bobby Ruff, who scored from 33 yards to make it 7-0. The defenses held the rest of the half, and the Wildcats were up 7-0 at intermission.
It was a different story in the second half as the two teams combined for 56 points.
“It was a track meet in the second half,” said Marion. “Both teams made adjustments at halftime. They’ve got a good team.”
The Cougars fumbled the second-half kickoff, and the Wildcats recovered at the 25. Two plays later, Jenkins ran up the middle, virtually untouched from 21 yards, to put West Ashley up 14-0.
Colleton County went 64 yards on 13 plays on its next possession with senior fullback Diquan Crosby going in from 2 yards for the TD to make it 14-7.
Less than two minutes later, Jenkins ran in from 12 yards to again put the Wildcats up by 14.
“Marquize hits the hole hard and he is quick,” said Marion.
On the Cougars’ next possession from their own 19, Colleton County tried a fake punt but a short pass fell incomplete.
Jenkins made the Cougars pay by scoring on West Ashley’s first play to make the score 28-7. Cougars quarterback Ramon Hall raced 49 yards with 2:01 left in the third quarter to bring the score to 28-14.
Early in the fourth quarter, Manigault hit junior wideout Anthony Vincelli with a 22-yard scoring pass to give the Wildcats a seemingly insurmountable 35-14 advantage.
But the next two minutes would change that. Colleton County made it 35-21 on its first play from scrimmage when Hall hit junior Letrell Nieves on a 57-yard pass.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, the ball rolled to the West Ashley 2 and was recovered by the Cougars. It took four plays from there, but Hall finally ran a QB sneak in for the score to make it 35-28 with 8:41 left in the game.
After an exchange of punts, West Ashley took over at its own 16 with 5:14 to play and, with 11 straight rushes, converted a couple of key third downs and ran the clock out.
As the Wildcats celebrated their best start since the school opened in 2000, Marion was already thinking about what comes next. He noted that the schedule will get tougher, and his defense will need to be more consistent.
“We know that in AAAA football you have got to play 48 minutes.”
CC 0 0 14 14—28
WA 7 0 14 14—35
WA – Bobby Ruff 33 run (Caroline Cashion kick)
WA — Marquize Jenkins 21 run (Cashion kick)
CC — Diquan Crosby 2 run (Riley Downing kick)
WA — Jenkins 12 run (Cashion kick)
WA — Jenkins 19 run (Cashion kick)
CC — Ramon Hall 49 run (Downing kick)
WA — Anthony Vincelli 22 pass from Pedro Manigault (Cashion kick)
CC — Letrell Nieves 57 pass from Hall (Downing kick)
CC — Hall 1 run (Downing kick)