ASHLAND – The fourth-ranked Ashland-Greenwood Bluejays scored a season-high 57 points and piled up nearly 500 yards of offense while recording a 57-34 home win over Lincoln Christian on Friday night.
The Bluejays scored in all three phases of the game in the first half, but went into the locker room up just 27-20 against the one-win Crusaders.
The lead remained just seven points going into the fourth quarter before the home team was finally able to close things out with a 16-0 advantage in the fourth quarter.
“Lincoln Christian is much better than their record and they gave us all we could handle,” said Ashland-Greenwood Coach Ryan Thompson.
Sophomore defensive back Cale Jacobsen got the Jays on the board first when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 20 yards for a score in the first quarter. Junior Julian Brown kicked the PAT and the AGHS lead grew to 7-0.
The Crusaders led 13-7 late in the first quarter until senior running back Bryce Kitrell scored on a 1-yard run to even the score at 13. The Jays went for two, but the attempt failed.
Kitrell gave the Jays the lead when he caught a punt in Crusader territory and returned it 35 yards for a score. Brown added the PAT and the AGHS lead grew to 20-13.
The lead lasted 14 seconds. LCHS returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a score to even the score at 20.
The final score of the first half came on a 28-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Hunter Washburn to Jacobsen. Brown tacked on the PAT and the Jays capped a wild first half with a 27-20 lead.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter and the Bluejays led 41-34 going into the final 12 minutes.
Washburn scored on a 5-yard run and connected with receiver Lane Zimmerman on a 59-yard score in the third quarter.
The Jays put the game away when senior Gavin Bergsten scored on an 11-yard run and Zimmerman connected with Jacobsen on a 56-yard scoring pass on a double pass.
“I am proud how our team responded to all of the adversity we worked through tonight. They could have easily pointed fingers and hung their heads but they leaned on each other and found a way to dig themselves out,” said Thompson.
The Jays rushed for 209 yards and passed for 280 more.
Kitrell rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Bergsten added 60 yards on eight carries.
Washburn completed 13-of-16 through the air for 224 yards and two scores. Zimmerman added 56 passing yards on his one attempt.
Zimmerman caught five balls for 120 yards and Jacobsen caught four balls for 100 more.
The Jays won despite losing four fumbles.
Seniors Seth Novak and Kyle vonRentzell finished with eight tackles apiece. Senior Jacob Ludwig added seven tackles and forced two fumbles.
Jacobsen recovered a fumble and senior Justin Book intercepted a pass.
The Jays will remain home on Friday when they play host to 4-3 Nebraska City. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.