Ashley Ridge tops West Ashley

Ashley Ridge’s Cyrus Clark scored the winning touchdown against West Ashley on Friday night (File photo)

SUMMERVILLE — Cyrus Clark’s 4-yard run with 2:52 to play in the game lifted Ashley Ridge to a 37-33 win over visiting West Ashley on Friday night.

Ashley Ridge improved to 4-0 for the second straight season, while West Ashley lost a close game in the final minutes for the second straight week, dropping to 1-2 on the season.

Ashley Ridge senior quarterback Steven Duncan completed 16 of 21 passes for 280 yards, including two long touchdown throws (49 and 40 yards) to Russell Montgomery. Clark finished the night with 93 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

“It’s great to be 4-0 again and I thought our kids really did a solid job in the second half tonight,” Ashley Ridge head coach Kenny Walker said. “Not really sure why we are such slow starters defensively. We really didn’t play great to start, but we got it together in the second half. It’s a good win because West Ashley, that’s a pretty good football team. I’m still waiting to see us put four quarters together on both sides of the ball.”

Clark’s winning score came after West Ashley took a safety, leading the game 33-27 with 4:47 to play. The Wildcats were backed up on their own 3-yard line and opted to give up the points rather than punt from their own end zone.

After the free kick, the Swamp Foxes traveled 40 yards on five plays to grab the lead. West Ashley reached midfield on its final possession before turning the ball over on downs with 1:19 to play in the game.

Ashley Ridge’s second-half defensive effort resulted in allowing only 87 total yards after yielding 176 yards in the first half. West Ashley running back Dexter Freeman topped 100 yards for the third straight game, finishing with 120 yards — but only six in the second half. Quarterback Justin Berry, making his first start of the season, added 116 yards passing.

The scoring started early and continued throughout a wild first half. West Ashley scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the opening quarter — one on special teams and another on defense. Donnovin Brown picked up Malik Brown’s blocked punt and returned it 15 yards for game’s first touchdown with 9:02 left.

Ashley Ridge needed two plays to cover 50 yards and tie the game as Clark scored from three yards out. The score was set up by a 47-yard pass from Duncan to Ellington.

After a turnover, Ashley Ridge struck quickly when, on the first play, Duncan threw a 49-yard bomb to Russell Montgomery with 7:56 to play, giving Ashley Ridge a 14-7 lead.

The West Ashley defense rallied two minutes later, forcing a fumble that Jay Smith returned 15 yards for a tying touchdown.

Freeman closed the first quarter with a 63-yard run to give West Ashley a 21-14 lead, but Ashley Ridge answered on Clark’s 3-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Freeman put the Wildcats back on top later in the second with an 11-yard run but a missed extra point left the score, 27-21.

With 4:49 left in the second, Duncan and Montgomery struck again — this time on a 40-yard bomb to the end zone, giving the Swamp Foxes a 28-27 halftime lead.

After a scoreless third period, West Ashley took a 33-28 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter as Berry scored on a one-yard dive on fourth-and-goal.

The Wildcats wasted a scoring opportunity on the first drive of the second half, reaching the Ashley Ridge four-yard line before missing a field goal.