MONCKS CORNER — Ashley Ridge and Berkeley, two high school football teams hoping to contend for their respective region titles this fall, collided at Bonner Stadium on Friday night. And both teams left everything they had on the field.
Berkeley senior running back Keshawn Wicks scored on a 7-yard run with 32 seconds remaining in the game, lifting the Stags to a 28-21 win over the Swamp Foxes.
Berkeley improves to 2-0 in their first season in Class AAAAA while Ashley Ridge dropped to 1-1.
Wicks, who had five carries for just five yards in the first half, had a 75-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter, giving the Stags a 21-14 lead. The Old Dominion commitment finished the game with 118 yards rushing.
“We made a comedy of errors in the passing game, but it’s the second game of the season and hopefully we can fix those,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said. “They whipped us up front on both sides of the ball. I’ve been beating this drum since we moved to AAAAA. The line of scrimmage is different. We got a good taste of that tonight.”
Berkeley finished the game with just over 200 total yards, while Ashley Ridge had more than 300 yards. Ashley Ridge running back Nick Cunningham totaled 182 yards rushing, scoring two touchdowns. The Swamp Foxes were plagued by penalties, finishing with 10 total penalties, including three personal fouls.
On Berkeley’s last scoring drive, a roughing the quarterback penalty on second down moved the Stags inside the 10-yard line, setting up Wicks’ final score.
“Two steps forward, one step back, all night long,” a dejected Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We continue to shoot ourselves in the foot every time something good happens. We practice these things and yet we continue to do stupid things. It’s very frustrating.”
Each team put together one solid scoring drive in the first half. Berkeley took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter on Eric Tuttle’s 14-yard pass to DJ Chisolm, who set up the scoring drive with a 40-yard punt return.
Midway through the second period, the Swamp Foxes put together an eight-play drive, capped by Cunningham’s nine-yard run. Alex Lazik’s extra point gave Ashley Ridge a 7-6 lead.
The biggest play of the first half came on the ensuing kickoff. In an effort to keep the ball away from Chisolm, one of the state’s top kick returners, the Swamp Foxes kicked to Cam Myers, who raced 85 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion gave the Stags a 14-7 halftime lead.
“Again, we practice all week on kicking short and covering kicks and we kick the ball too deep and get burned,” Walker said.
The Swamp Foxes put together a good drive on their first possession of the second-half with quarterback Matt Duncan scoring from two yards out to tie the game at 14.
On Berkeley’s next offensive play, Wicks raced 75 yards for the go-ahead score. Ashley Ridge again moved the ball with Cunningham and Duncan on the ground, setting up with a first-and-goal from the eight-yard line. A personal foul stalled the drive and Ashley Ridge missed a 39-yard field goal.
Cunningham, however, raced 44 yards for the tying score with 6:35 left in the game.
“We have a lot of guys who are third-year starters and they know how to win,” Robinson said. “Lot of things to work on though. We have to get back to work.”