Ashton Ashford ran for four touchdowns as fourth-ranked Ramsay beat Guntersville 45-9 in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Ashford scored from the 25, 14, 5 and 1 for the Rams (10-2). They led 19-9 at halftime at Chorba-Lee Stadium in Guntersville.
“Last year we had lost in the second round (to Center Point),” Ashford, a junior, said. “And I just felt like we needed to execute.
“I think we started out slow but our coach gave us that pep talk at halftime and we came out and dominated.”
Jalen Jones, who has offers from Miles and Shorter, scored on a 75-yard kick return to open the second half. He scored on a 61-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. Tremell Washington had a 9-yard touchdown run midway in the third quarter.
“We didn’t start off right. We came out really flat,” Rams second-year coach Ronnie Jackson said. “But we got the ball in our playmakers’ hands and they made plays. We didn’t start (executing) until second half.”
Evan Taylor scored on a 31-yard fumble return for Guntersville (9-3). The host Wildcats got a safety midway in the second quarter when a Ramsay punt snap sailed through the end zone.
Star of the game: Ashford had 28 carries for 231 yards and his first four-touchdown game. He scored three as a freshman against Fairview in 2020.
Play of the game: Jones’ kickoff return set the tone for the second half. William Murray kicked the extra point to put Ramsay up 26-9 at 11:48 in the third quarter.
Key sequence: After intercepting a Wildcats’ pass in the fourth quarter, the Rams marched 29 yards in three plays capped by Ashford’s 1-yard touchdown. They led 45-9 with 9:10 left.
Stat sheet: Ramsay – Washington had nine carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards with one interception. Defensive end/linebacker Caleb Patterson had a sack and six tackles. Guntersville – Julyon Jordan had 23 carries for 73 yards.
By the numbers: 477 – Ramsay total yards with 396 rushing and 81 passing. 122 – Guntersville total yards with 59 rushing and 63 passing. 2 – Rams turnovers on a fumble and an interception. 1 – Guntersville turnover on an interception. 2 – wins apiece for these teams in four meetings all time.
Coachspeak: “I had to light a fire (at halftime) and just let them know all the things we did wrong.” – Jackson.
“Ramsay’s got a great team. Tremendous speed and athleticism. Well-coached. We were down 19-9 and still in the game. Second half we gave up big plays which broke the game open. We struggled to sustain drives offensively. I’m proud of our 11 seniors and all they’ve accomplished in their career.” – Guntersville coach Lance Reese.
They said it: “I just stayed low, believed in my line and ran north to south.” – Ashford.
“(It was) us wanting to be physical. We just wanted to win, we wanted to get the third round.” – Washington.
“I knew coming into the game that I was going to have to play. So I had to step up for my team and make some plays to help us win.” – Jones.
“We just locked in. We made plays for our offense.” – Patterson.
What’s next: Ramsay plays Friday’s winner of Scottsboro (7-4) at No. 2-ranked Leeds (10-0).
THURSDAY HIGH SCHOOL SCORES
AHSAA Round 2
Ramsay 45, Guntersville 9
Millry 62, Loachapoka 12
Lee-Scott 41, Valiant Cross 0
Patrician 42, Edgewood 14