OCH Regional Medical Center Athlete of the Week: Rakeim Ashford

Rakeim Ashford

Staff Writer

There’s been a focus this offseason for Choctaw County to create big plays offensively.

They’ve got the pieces at the skilled positions, coach Ben Ashley was just looking to fit them all together.

One of those players that he wanted to make sure had his opportunities was Rakeim Ashford. As a junior, Ashford was flanked out at wide receiver. He caught 24 passes for 483 yards and two touchdowns; averaging 20 yards per catch.

With the big-play ability, Ashley wanted to get the football in his hands more, so he’s moving him around this year from running back to wide out.

“He gives us a breakaway threat – a home run every time he touches it,” Ashley said. “Last year he touched the ball 27 times and every one of them were big plays. He’s gotten up to 185 pounds and has gotten a lot stronger, so I felt it was time to give him carries.”

In his debut with a new role in the offense, Ashford broke out. In the 42-13 blowout win, Ashford set the tone following a rain delay. The senior got free on the second play of the game for a 65-yard touchdown run and the fire was lit.

Ashford ended up with five carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns and added another score on a 19-yard reception. It was just what he wanted in his first game of his senior year.

“I just followed my offensive line on the rushing touchdowns and they opened up huge holes for me,” Ashford said. “My quarterback threw a great pass on the receiving touchdown that allowed me to make a play. I just give all the credit to my teammates for making those plays happen for me.

“Coach Ashley has told me that they’re going to get me the ball and I need to make a play. I think this offense allows me to showcase my abilities and opens up a lot for me. I’m really enjoying it.”

For Ashley, the Athlete of the Week was imperative in the Chargers coming out and proving early they were the better team. The first possession set the tone for the rest of the game and the Chargers never looked back.

“It was huge. All week long we told our kids we were going to score on the first play," Ashley said. "We didn’t quite get it done, but we got it on the second. I told our kids we’ll get Rakeim the ball and we did and he scored. I was worried about that with the weather delay, but it didn’t matter. It won’t be that easy every Friday, but he made it look that way against East Webster.”

Ashford and the Chargers try to continue their good start to the season as they travel to Winona this Friday to take on the defending Class 2A State champion runners up. The Tigers have moved up to Class 3A this season and Ashford and company are ready for a battle.