Price's East Webster team takes battle between new coaches

Staff Writer

East Webster head coach Ron Price and Choctaw County head coach Ben Ashley are good friends who began a new chapter in their lives on Friday night as they faced one another with their respective new schools for the first time.

Although Price has compassion for his buddy, he has likely got a little more bounce to his step today than Ashley after East Webster edged Choctaw County 14-12.

“You hate to see somebody lose a game like that, but I’m sure thankful we’re waking up (this) morning the winning team,” Price said.

On a hot, muggy night in Cumberland, defense ruled the evening. East Webster scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and didn’t crack the scoreboard again.

Choctaw County kept knocking at the Wolverines’ door, but couldn’t push ahead.

“I feel like we left that one out there,” Ashley said.

In the end, it was Price who got to have the happy ending on his debut night with his new team. Ashley was left to ponder what could have been.

“We had (the ball) down there close (to the end zone) two or three times and just didn’t finish,” Ashley said.

In fact, neither team had much success offensively. East Webster was limited to 224 total yards. Choctaw County was hampered by a pair of turnovers that halted drives in Wolverine territory.

Luckily for East Webster, it put just enough points on the board early.

The Wolverines struck first early in the opening period when quarterback Charlie Brand found Isaac Patterson for a 74-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd-down-and-long play. Patterson got behind the Charger secondary, was wide open, caught the pass and scored easily.

“We were in cover four, which is the first coverage you put in during junior high, and busted it,” Ashley said. “It’s just a busted coverage and it never should have happened.”

The Chargers answered with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing drive. Laterrion McBride punched the ball into the end zone from 5 yards out. However Choctaw County botched the extra point attempt and then watched as East Webster found pay dirt again.

This time, Brand found Keevon Patterson from 8 yards out to cap a 70-yard drive. As the first quarter came to a close, East Webster led 14-6. That was all the offense the Wolverines ended up needing.

“It was good to get two quick scores from good receivers and let our defense take care of the rest of the game,” Brand said.

Choctaw County did inch closer. In the closing moments of the third quarter, Kaleb Nichols had a 4-yard touchdown run. The Chargers went for two to try and tie the game, but the run attempt was stuffed.

Choctaw County got one last chance to surge ahead as time winded down in the game. The Chargers began a drive at their own 20 and advanced all the way to the East Webster 27 before the Wolverines held and forced a turnover on downs.

As the buzzer sounded, Price could find relief as his initial East Webster victory was secured.

“When you talk about a 48-minute battle, that’s exactly what this was,” Price said.

Ashley was left feeling like his team shot themselves in the foot after not cashing in on too many chances.

That’s just how football works though. Whether friends or enemies, only one head coach and his team can win.

For Price and Ashley, round one went to Price.

“Both teams battled until the bitter end,” Price said. “I’m just thankful our kids put themselves in position to get that win. There is no better feeling than being 1-0 right now.”