DUBLIN - The West Bladen Knights will be looking for their first win of the season tonight as they host the 4A Ashley Screaming Eagles out of Wilmington.
Coach Raymond Marlowe’s team dropped to 0-2 after East Columbus kicked a 36-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining on the clock to get a 43-42 win last Thursday night.
The Eagles, under coach Dylan Dimock in his eighth year, are also looking for their first victory after opening the year with a 0-3 record. Ashley finished last year with a 5-7 after losing in the first round of 4A playoffs.
With six returning on offense and six on defense, the Eagles are still trying to find any type combination to get a win. Ashley has faced some tough competition through their first three outings.
The Eagles opened the season wit ha 35-33 loss to 4A Purnell Swett. The following week, the Ashley team fell to a very good Northside-Jacksonville team 33-6, before losing to South Brunswick 13-7 last Thursday night.
This marks the fourth meeting between the two schools. In the first meeting in ‘05, West Bladen won 27-13, but in ‘06 Ashley won 33-23 and last year the Eagles came from behind to get a 28-20 victory.
Quarterback Zach Finnegan returns at that position and does a good job throwing the ball as well as a threat to run. He gets good protection from offensive linemen Dylan Caviness, and Kanwar Singh.
Finnegan’s favorite target is wide receiver CJ Caldwell. Running backs Justin Jackson, and Josh Butler do a good job.
The top defensive players are linebackers Zack Smith, Joe Grant, and Keon Baker, and offensive back Patrick Hayes.
West Bladen’s defense has had problems stopping its opponents through the first two games.
In the season opening 42-24 loss to Midway, the Knights were in the game at halftime, but the Raiders came back for a big second half to get the win.
In Last Thursday night’s 43-42 loss to East Columbus, the Knights trailed 21-0 at the end of the first quarter before fighting back to trim the deficit to 28-15 by halftime. With just over a minute left in the contest, West took a 42-41 lead before the Gators mounted a drive over the final minute that led to a winning field goal.
The Knights are strong offensively with the back field of running backs Terrence Autry, Lorenzo Drew, Kendrick McKoy and Vince Allen and quarterback Josh Furtell.